CAITHNESS FAMILY HISTORY
BY JOHN HENDERSON, W.S.
EDINBURGH: DAVID DOUGLAS
EDITOR'S NOTE, . . . . . . *.'' ix
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH, . . . . "- . -^ /'" xi
AUTHOR'S PREFACE, . . . . .- . i 1 - xix
INTRODUCTION, . . . . . . : *- xxi
BRODIES, . . . . V< ' '"' ; < 308
BRUCE OF HAM, . . . . . ,^,^ , , 267
BRUCE OF HASTIGROW AND SEATER, . . . ^.,, 273
BRUCE OF LYTH, . . . . . .-., , 270
BRUCE OF STANSTILL, . . . ... 262
BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL, . . . ,.*., .,,< .: 181
CAITHNESS, EARLS OF, . . . . . ' 1
CALDER OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON, L . . . .. ,. ,, 215
CALDER OF LYNEGAR, . . . . . -,, ? 209
CALDER OF STRATH, . . . . ^ . . ^ .> , , 217
CAMPBELLS OF QUOYCROOK, LOCHEND, CASTLEHILL, ETC., . ; : ,.,. 275
COGHILL OF THAT ILK, . . ' 3 - %*- , - , 253
CUNNINGHAM OF BROWNHILL, ETC., . . . ... , n 201
DAVIDSON OF ACHINGILLS AND BUCKIES, ETC., . ^ ,..,.,! 301
DOULL OF THUSTER, . . . . ,,'-, 324
DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS, . . . . .... , ; . 219
PUNBAR OF NORTHFIELD AND BOWERMADDEN, ^. _ .. ,.<T 226
GIBSONS, . , " . . ... . . 304
GORDON OF SWINEY, . . . . * " .-' . . . 326
GUNNS, . . " * . : . . . . . 319
HENDERSON OF ACHALIBSTER AND WESTERDALE, . . . 288
HENDERSON OF NOTTINGHAM AND GERSAY, . . . . 293
HENDERSON OF STEMSTER, . . . . . . 283
INNES OF SANDSIDE, . . ,'....* . . 245
INNES OF THURSATER, ETC., . . -."'. . . . . 238
KENNEDY OF STROMA, , . . . ' '; . ,w . . 328
HANSONS, , . . ... . . 312
MANSON- SINCLAIR OF BRIDGEND, . . .... . . 148
MOWAT OF BRABSTERMYRE AND SWINZIE, . . . . 178
MOWAT OF "BUCHOLLIE, . . . '. . . . 173
MURRAY OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL, . . . . 196
MURRAY OF PENNYLAND, . r . ' . . . . . 189
NICOLSON OF SHEBSTER, .. . / ' -. ' .*" . 317
OSWALDS, . . . . ' . ' . . . 232
SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON, ." ' ... 142
SINCLAIR OF ASSERY, . ' . . . ' . ' . 31
SINCLAIR OF BARROCK, , . ' . . . . 97
SINCLAIR OF BORLUM AND THURA, . . ' . . . 255
SINCLAIR OF BRABSTERDORRAN, . . ] ^ . . . 125
SINCLAIR OF DUN, '.' "V 1 ' . . . . 107
SINCLAIR OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON, .... 83
SINCLAIR OF DURRAN, . ,. . . . ' .' 75
SINCLAIR OF FORSS, . .* .T . , . \ 128
SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK, . . r" . , ./ ' . . 51
SINCLAIR OF GEISE, . . . . .* . , 43
SINCLAIR OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR, . 44
SINCLAIR OF HOY AND OLDFIELD, . . . . . 146
SINCLAIR OF KIRK AND MYRELANDHORN, .... 330
SINCLAIR OF LYBSTER, . . . . . . 36
SINCLAIR OF LYBSTER, KEAY, .... \ ... . 144
SINCLAIR OF MEY, . . . . . . Y 60
SINCLAIR OF MURKLE, . . . . . 24
SINCLAIR OF OLRIG, ....... 80
SINCLAIR OF SCOTSCALDER, .... . . 39
SINCLAIR OF SOUTHDUN, . . . , . . 120
SINCLAIR OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH, . . . " . 14
SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE, ..... . 103
SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER, . . . . . . 67
SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF BRABSTER, . 93
SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF SWINZIE, . . . . . 171
ST. GLAIR, MAJOR-GENERAL ARTHUR, . . . 334
SUTHERLAND OF FORSE, . . . . . . ^ 151
SUTHERLAND OF LANGWELL, . . . . . . 163
SUTHERLAND OF WESTER, . . . . . *.. 332
TAYLOR OF THURA, . . . . . . . 299
TRAILL OF CASTLEHILL AND KATTAR, .... 229
WILLIAMSON OF ACHORLIE AND BANNISKIRK, . . . 295
LIST OF HERITORS AND WADSETTERS, '. . . 339
THESE notes on Caithness Family History are given
to the public as left by the author, and the Editor
desires to* thank those friends who, by their advice, have
aided in the preparation of the book for the press.
The Editor also wishes gratefully to acknowledge the
courtesy of the Earl of Caithness in permitting the use
of the arms of his ancestor, George, fourth Earl of Caith-
ness, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Graham, daughter of
the Earl of Montrose, copied from an old carving in
Barrogill Castle, which form the vignette on the title-
page ; and the valuable assistance most kindly rendered
by Mr. Burnett, Lyon King of Arms, in revising the work,
and enriching it with notes (printed within brackets),
which elucidate or confirm the text.
IT may not be considered inappropriate to preface the
" Notes of Caithness Family History " now published by
a brief sketch of their author.
John Henderson was descended from the Brabster-
dorran branch of the Caithness Hendersons. Of his
grandfather's three sons, two were, like himself, long and
intimately associated with the public business of their
Captain John Henderson, the eldest of the brothers,
after serving in the Caithness Fencibles during the Irish
Rebellion, spent his later years at Castlegreen, Thurso,
which he built. He died there in 1828, aged sixty-nine.
He was for many years factor on the Ulbster estates, and
was the first agent in Thurso for the Commercial Bank of
Scotland. In 1812 he published a " General View of the
Agriculture of Caithness," the first family contribution
to the annals of the county, and a work of considerable
interest. He married Jane, daughter of Captain William
Maclean of the 40th Regiment, and his wife, Mary,
daughter of John Sutherland of Forse. The only sur-
xii BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
vivor of their family is Major-General William Hender-
William, the second brother, and father of the subject
of this notice, after an extended legal practice in Thurso,
and also acting as factor on many estates in the county,
was appointed Sheriff-Substitute of Caithness, an office
which he held until his death in 1826, aged fifty-eight.
He was proprietor of the estate of Scotscalder, which
he bought from Captain Balfour. He married Anne,
daughter of Patrick Brodie, Esq. Of four deceased sons
of their large family, the eldest, Dr. Patrick, was the
author of an unpublished " History of Caithness," and
several other works. John was the second son. Alex-
ander, the third, succeeded his uncle, Captain John, as
agent for the Commercial Bank in Thurso. The fourth,
Dr. William, was a distinguished physician and Professor
of General Pathology in the University of Edinburgh.
James, the third of the brothers, was Captain in the
R/oss-shire Militia. He married Eliza, daughter of Sir
Edmund Lacon, Bart., who, with their only child, pre-
deceased him.. He died in 1825, aged fifty-five.
John Henderson was born in the old house of Ormlie,
near Thurso, on the 21st December 1800. He received
his early education in his native town, and subsequently
attended Tain Academy, concluding his academical career
at the University of Aberdeen. On leaving Aberdeen he
served his apprenticeship in the office of Mr. Inglis, W.S.,
and after completing his legal studies, was admitted Writer
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. xiii
to the Signet in 1824. Circumstances led him to decide
upon commencing business in Wick, where he settled in
1828. He there received the appointment of Procurator-
Fiscal, which he retained until his removal to Thurso in
1852. He afterwards held all the important county
appointments, and in addition to these a large number of
factorships. His resignation of the Freswick factorship
in 1879 terminated a business connection between the
proprietors of these estates and his family of more than
sixty years. And at different periods Mr. Henderson
was also factor on the Hempriggs, Thrumster, Forse,
Brabster, Lochend, Forss, and Rattar estates.
In 1852 he removed to Thurso to take up, on his
brother Alexander's retirement, the agency of the Com-
mercial Bank, which he held until his death. He was
for many years an elder in the parish church of Thurso,
and was an attached but not sectarian member of the
Church of Scotland.
In 1829 he married his cousin, Barbara, daughter of
William Henderson, Esq., Edinburgh, and sister of John
Henderson, the first Queen's Remembrancer. She was
in all respects worthy of her husband, and her death, in
1859, threw an abiding shadow over his remaining years.
During his long life Mr. Henderson had seen many
and great changes pass over the community to which he
belonged. The world into which he was born was, he
used to say, a different one from that of his later years.
As a boy he had worshipped in the ancient and now
xiv BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
ruined parish church of St. Peter, and remembered its
curiously painted wood-work and quaint galleries and
pews; and he had heard the " dead-bells" tolled before
the coffin, as funerals passed down to the old churchyard.
Little of the New Town of Thurso was then built, and
thatch prevailed more than slates on the roofs of the
houses which did exist. In these days the citizens' cows
grazed on the " common " pasture-ground ; were gathered
in the evening on the " Clingrag " (or Lingering) Hill, and
conducted collectively to the entrance of the main street,
whence each animal sedately took her way to her own
place of abode. He remembered the annual game of
"knotty," which took place on New- Year's day on the
sands of Thurso, below the long " links," which have now
disappeared ; the regularly recurring faction fights on the
market-days at which he and his companions delightedly
" assisted"; and the cock-fights which the schoolboys
were encouraged to promote, the winning bird being
always considered a perquisite of the Master. He recol-
lected the arrival of the news of the battle of Salamanca,
and other victories of the Peninsular war. These were
events of moment to Caithness wives and mothers, for
above two thousand Caithness recruits were " attested "
during that period, and the Williamsons, Inneses, and
Davidsons lost more than one gallant soldier-son at
Fuentes de Onoro, the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo ; Sala-
manca, and the siege of Burgos. He used to tell of the
rejoicings for the battle of Waterloo, when a Thurso
BIOGBAPHICAL SKETCH. XV
bailie, who had vowed never to change his wig while
Bonaparte retained power, came down from his house,
and preceded by the town-piper, and followed by his
maid-servant bearing a new wig under her apron, marched
three times round the bon-fire in MacDonald Square, and
at the end of the last circuit threw the time-honoured
head-gear into the flames.
His journeyings to and from his father's house and
Edinburgh were chiefly performed on board the coasting
vessels, which were then the most available means of
communication between North and South. The fort-
night's voyage between Thurso and Leith was sometimes
exceeded by days, or even weeks ; and on one occasion,
in consequence of an unusually prolonged detention, the
passengers and crew of the " John o' Groat " were con-
strained to consume the gifts of Caithness geese, and
other Christmas fare, which were on their way from
" country cousins " to expectant, but disappointed reci-
pients in the Scottish capital.
During his later years Mr. Henderson gradually re-
signed the various appointments which he had retained
during his residence in Thurso, except the bank agency ;
and his well-earned time of comparative rest was spent
in the retirement of his much-loved home at Ormlie.
During those years the volume of " Notes," which had
been gradually growing beneath his hand, received many
additions. Its compilation had long afforded him an
object of interest external to the engrossing cares of
xvi BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
business, -and the unwearied trouble he took in verifying
every detail, and inserting only what he believed to be
absolutely accurate, was characteristic.
In the spring of 1883 his health began to fail, and
gradually increasing illness terminated in his death on
the 25th of August of the same year.
To one who best knew him in the daily intercourse of
a home-life full of sacred memories, it is not easy to
estimate, as a whole, such a life as his. The worthy
inheritor of a name associated with just, honourable, and
upright lives, , his public duties were discharged with
unvarying faithfulness and punctuality. In his many
factorships he always knew how to combine the interests
of his clients with the well-being of the tenantry. A
singular youthfulness, purity, and guilelessness of nature
remained with him throughout his life, a clear and strong
intellect enabled him to grasp and master every subject
to which he applied himself, and an earnest love of truth
and thirst after knowledge led to an unceasing pursuit
of both. Like most men of well-balanced character, he
had a strong sense of humour. His judgment of men and
things was ever sound, calm, just, and charitable, and in
his nature assumption and self-seeking found no place.
The words of one who knew him well may most fitly
close this brief record of his life : " His sterling, reliable
character, his manly straight-forward way of doing busi-
ness, his quiet but firm manner, his kindly consideration
for many a poor man struggling with difficulties, gained
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. xvii
for him, as a business man, a place which business men
rarely attain to in the hearts of the people. ... As one
who felt it a privilege to know and love him, I would
like to pay a tribute to his memory by pointing out, what
was indeed apparent to all, that the singular success of
his career was due not merely to his natural disposition
and manner, but to what the grace of God had made him
as a Christian man. He had learned the secret <tf doing
his work in all the variety of his offices ' as to the Lord,
and not to* man ; ' and on this, as the foundation prin-
ciple of all his dealings with men, was built a business
life rarely equalled in its usefulness. . . . His death was,
like his life, a humble and unquestioning profession of his
faith in his Redeemer. He had * finished his course/ he
had ' kept the faith ; ' and when death came, it came to
one who, through the grace of God preparing him for it,
had nothing to do but to die."
Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Or the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
A. B. H.
ORMLIE LODGE, THURSO,
February 5th, 1884.
IT may be proper to state that the object I have
had in view in the following Notes has not been to
collect materials for a County Genealogy brought down
to the present time, but to preserve notices, now
generally forgotten, of the older families connected
with the County, and now, in many instances, extinct.
The Notes were commenced many years ago, and have
been continued as opportunities of adding to them
occurred, and every care has been taken to render them
accurate, the sources of information having been County
and other records, title-deeds of landed property, and,
as far as possible, family documents. The materials
here collected may be of use to future inquirers.
THE EARLDOM OF CAITHNESS, although said to be
traditionally of great antiquity, does not appear on
record until 1129, in which year Mac William, desig-
nated Earl of Caithness, occurs in a charter by King
David i. to the Monastery of Dunfermline. From the
period of this Earl's death in 1160, down to 1455, the
dignity was held by seven different Earls, the last of
whom, Sir George Crichton, Lord High Admiral, was
created Earl of Caithness in 1450. Upon his death in
1455, the earldom was granted to William St. Glair,
Earl of Orkney, by whose lineal descendants it is still
What territorial rights in the county were possessed
by the Caithness Earls before the St. Glairs, it is difficult
to say, but it is improbable that the repeated grants of
the earldom by the Crown carried nothing except the
barren dignity, and it is certain that about 1373 David
Stewart, Earl of Strathearne and Caithness, obtained
from his father, King Robert ii., the castle of Braal and
lands thereof; and that in 1452 Sir George Crichton,
the eighth Earl, obtained from James n. the lands of
Braal, Dunbeath, Latheronwheel, and Watten.
William St. Glair's charter from James n. in 1455
conveyed to him generally " Commitatum nostrum de
Caithness cum titulis de Carnoch et Eminavir cum perti-
nentiis etaliis pertinentiis dicti commitatus," and the
estate so granted was declared to be a free barony.
In 1476 James in. granted to William St. Clair,
second Earl of this family, a charter of the lands of the
earldom, on the resignation of his father, with the
patronage of the Hospital or Church of St. Magnus,
at Spittal. A hospital, of what nature is unknown, was
connected with this church, of which considerable ruins,
together with its cemetery, still remain. The cemetery
was the burial-place of the Clan Gunn. The patronage
was retained by the Caithness family until at least as
late as 1644, when George, Earl of Caithness, was served
heir therein to his father, John, Master of Berriedale. The
settlement of the earldom by the first Earl was no more
than a common conveyance of the lands, and yet the
dignity as well as the estate was enjoyed by his third
son, although the title is not even mentioned, and no
new creation by patent was issued, and both descended
to his heirs. On the resignation of his grandson, George,
a new Crown charter was granted to John, his eldest
son, by which the dignity was limited to heirs-male, to
the exclusion of heirs-general.
In 1527 William, eldest son of John, third Earl,
obtained a Crown charter of Murkle, Thurso, and
adjacent lands. Murkle probably formed part of the
earldom before the accession of the St. Glairs, as John,
an Earl of Caithness in 1297, there swore fealty to King
The lands of the earldom were undoubtedly greatly
extended by the family of St. Clair, and included, at one
period, either in property or superiority, the larger por-
tion of the county. The prosperity of the earldom reached
its climax under George, the fourth Earl, and its decline
commenced through the improvidence of his grandson
and successor, George, fifth Earl. In the time of his great-
grandson, George, sixth Earl, the estates had become so
burdened with debt that he sold them in 1672 to his
principal creditor, Lord Glenorchy, and by him and his
successors all that remained of the family possessions was
sold, the then holders of many of the wadsets, with
which the earldom was burdened, having become pur-
chasers of the several lands possessed by them. In 1719
the Earl of Breadalbane sold to John Sinclair of Ulbster
his remaining claims on and rights in the estates of the
Caithness family, and Ulbster thereafter sold one-half of
his purchase to Sir James Sinclair of Dunbeath.
George Sinclair of Keiss, the seventh Earl, had a
very small estate, and none of the families of Murkle,
Rattar, and Mey, to which the succession to the title
opened successively after the death of the seventh Earl,
had large patrimonial possessions. The barony of Mey
was, in 1566, acquired from the Bishop of Caithness by
the then Earl of Caithness.
It has been considered unnecessary to trace the an-
cestry of the family of St. Clair from the period of the
Norman Baron, who obtained Roslyn from King David i.,
and these notes are confined to the descendants of William
of Roslyn, third Earl of Orkney and first of Caithness.
William, only son of his first marriage, was the ancestor
of the family of Lords Newburgh and Sinclair, and his
son Henry was, in 1488-89, by a special and singular
Act of Parliament, declared to be " chief of his blood."
This family had the lands of Dysart and Ravensheugh in
Fife, and is now represented, in the female line, by Mr.
Anstruther Thomson of Charlton, and the Earl of Roslyn,
the male line having ended in the person of John, seventh
Lord Sinclair, who died in 1676. The male line of Sir
Oliver of Roslyn, eldest son of Earl William's second
marriage, terminated in 1778, on the death of William
Sinclair, then of Roslyn, and the representation of the
family is claimed by the Chevalier Enrico Ciccopieri, a
major in the Italian service. The chevalier has been
served by the Sheriff of Chancery heir of line of Colonel
James St. Clair, who died in 1807, since which time the
representation had been in abeyance. Both the elder
branches of St. Clair of Roslyn having thus failed, in the
male line, the representation is undoubtedly vested in
the present Earl of Caithness.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries land-
holders of the name of Sinclair were numerous, both as
proprietors and wadsetters. In Calder's History of
Caithness it is said that the family of Sinclair of Dun
came into Caithness in 1379 ; but no evidence has been
discovered of any of the name of Sinclair having settled
in the county until the accession to the earldom in 1456,
of William, Earl of Orkney ; nor is there any trace of a
Sinclair of Dun earlier than 1540. Between 1508 and
1540 Dun was possessed by the family of Caldell or
From an early period the Crown had been in use to
grant lands, and casualties of superiority, such as non-
entry and ward, to persons having neither residential nor
family connection with the county ; but of these it is
not proposed to take notice further than as they may
throw light on its family history.
From 1290 to 1350 the Federiths, a Morayshire
family, held extensive possessions in Caithness. How
these were acquired does not appear. Contemporary
with them, and allied by marriage, were the Chens or
Cheynes, one of whom styled in charters " Ranald
Lord Chen " obtained a grant from William Federith
" of that Ilk," of a fourth part of Caithness, which was
confirmed by David n. The possessions of the Cheyne
family were scattered over the various parishes in the
county, and on the death of Ranald Cheyne, the one-
half passed to the Sutherlands, afterwards of Duffus or
"Dove-house," through the marriage of one of his two
daughters and heiresses, to Nicolas, brother of the Earl
of Sutherland ; and the remainder to the Keiths, after-
wards Earls Marischall, by the marriage of the other
daughter to John Keith of Inverruggie about 1380. In
1538 William, Earl Marischal, got a Crown charter of
Ackergill and the Tower thereof; while Berriedale and
Old Wick fell to the Sutherlands. Ultimately the
Caithness holdings of the Duffus family with other
lands were acquired by the Oliphants, by the marriage
of William, then styled of Berriedale, second son of
Laurence, first Lord Oliphant, to Christina, heiress of
The Inneses of Innes, another Moray shire family, claim
to have had the " third rig in Caithness." Their his-
torian, Forbes, supposes them to have acquired some part
of their Caithness possessions as far back as 1260, in place
of lands taken from them in Moray, and " given to the
Kirk." Mr. Cosmo Innes, who edits Forbes's " Account
of the Familie of Innes," says, however, that he had dis-
covered no evidence of their possessions in Caithness
previous to 1507. In that year a charter of Dunbeath,
Beay, and Sandside was granted to Alexander Innes, son
and heir of Alexander Innes of Innes, and these posses-
sions were resigned in 1529 in favour of Alexander
Sinclair of Stemster, grandson of the first Earl of Caith-
ness. In 1541 and 1564 the family of Innes of Innes
held heritable rights in Wick, Latheron, and Thurso,
acquired from the Oliphants ; but they do not seem to
have been landholders in Caithness for any considerable
period. Until comparatively recent dates there were
several landholders of the name, all believed to be of
Morayshire extraction, such as the Inneses of Thursater
and their collaterals ; the Inneses, wadsetters, of Oust,
of Skaill, and of Borrowstown ; and the late family of
Innes of Sandside.
The very ancient family of the Muats, or Mowats, or
de Monte alto, as they were named of old, occur as early
as 1275, when William de Monte alto witnessed an
agreement between Archibald, Bishop of Caithness, and
William, Earl of Sutherland, and they were connected
with the county as landholders from at least the beginning
of the fifteenth century. This appears from the fact that
between 1406 and 1413 the Duke of Albany, as Regent
of Scotland, confirmed to John Mowat a wadset of Fres-
wick, granted to him by his father, William Mowat of
Loscraggy. Down to 1661 the Mowats were proprietors
of the estate of Freswick.
The Earls of Ross appear to have had at a remote
period land rights in Caithness, but the origin or extent
of these has not been traced. There is an original Precept
of Sasine, dated 24th October 1429, by Alexander, Earl
of Boss, in favour of his sister, Mariota, and her husband,
Alexander de Sutherland, granting to them, " omnes et
singulas terras nostras Dominii de Dunbeth ; " and it is
supposed to be the earliest writ extant concerning these
lands. Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath was long
believed by all Scottish genealogists to have been the
Master of Sutherland, the elder brother of John, third
Earl, but in the Sutherland Peerage Case, in 1771, this
was proved to be a mistake, his Will, made in 1456, hav-
ing been discovered, and produced ; and it is probable
that he was of the Thorboll branch oi the Sutherland
family. Whatever may have been his descent, he was
evidently a person of position and wealth ; and his
daughter, Majory, having married William St. Clair, first
Earl of Caithness, his connection with the county has
been perpetuated in her descendants of that family.
Nottingham, the residence of Sutherland of Forse, is
the ancient Nothingham and Nodingham, and " Henry of
Nothingham," a Canon of Caithness in 1272, was probably
so styled from this place. In 1408 it came into the pos-
session of the present family by grant from Mariot
Cheyne, with consent of Andrew of Keith, her son, and
Sutherland of Forse is thus the oldest of the existing
At one period the Earls of Sutherland held the follow-
ing lands which belonged to the bishopric, namely,
Stemster (Reay), half of Brims, Forss, and Baillie, Lyth-
more, two-thirds of Oust, Dorrary, Myremeikle, Scrab-
ster, Wick, and Papego, South and North Kilimster,
Windless, Myrelandhorn, Ulgrunbeg and Ulgrimore,
Halkirk, Easterdale, Westerdale, Tormsdale, Submin-
ster, Deren, Alterwall, Stanstill.
Much property now in the hands of the landholders of
Caithness belonged at one period to the Bishopric, and
was feued out in portions from time to time by various
Bishops and other church functionaries to the Earls of
Sutherland of Caithness and others. In 1550 Bishop
Robert Stuart granted to John, Earl of Sutherland, the
hereditary bailiary of the possessions of the Bishopric ;
and in 1557 and 1559 Bishop Robert gave him a grant of
the lands of Forss, Bailie, and Stemster, Lythmore, Wick,
South and North Kilimster, and Winless ; Myrelandhorn,
Scrabster, and fortalice thereof ; Skaill, Dorrary, Ulgrun-
beg, and Ulgrimore ; Halkirk, Subminster, Tormsdale,
Deren, Alterwall, Stanstill, Brims, and Oust, etc. The
Earl and his heirs were also appointed Hereditary Con-
stables of the Castle of Scrabster and the Palace of
Dornoch, " situated among the wild and uncivilised Scots,
and in a wintry region." In 1201 Bishop John occupied
the Palace of Scrabster, and in 1560 John, Earl of Suther-
land, there signed a charter to the first Sinclair of Forss
of the lands of Forss and Bailie, formerly part of the
Budge of Toftingall dates from at least as far back as
1503, and the Murrays of Penny land from the same cen-
tury. Both families are now united and were represented
by the late Sir Patrick Murray Threipland Budge. The
Sinclairs of Forss have possessed Forss and Baillie since
the year 1560.
Much of the information given in these Notes regard -
the Earls of the Sinclair line is to be found in the 'works
of Douglas and other genealogists, but, without repetition
from these sources, the lines of descent from the principal
family of many of the county families would have been
It may not be out of place to note some particulars of
the state of society in the county in last century, as given
in 1786 by Captain John Sutherland of Wester, whose
recollection extended beyond the middle of that century.
He says the people in general took a great deal more
trouble in other people's business than in their own, which
is to be accounted for by the circumstances that the
county lies in a remote corner of the island, and that the
access to and from it is only by one difficult road (the Ord),
so that the people of it have not that free and easy inter-
course with other counties as the other and more southerly
counties have ; and the county is so " interlarded " by
marriages among themselves that a multiplicity of ques-
tions arise, particularly in the way of succession, which often
creates bad blood among relations. The same cause pro-
duces a great deal of jaunting and visiting among relations.
The Captain goes on to say that it was the general practice
in the highland and inward part of the county, previous
to and about the middle of the century, to go to markets
with arms, such as broad-swords or side pistols ; but the
" parish of Canisbay," even in those days, " did not seem
to be inspired with that warlike genius so much as the
other parishes." But he had seen from four to six men,
dressed in a sort of uniform, issue from the house of Fres-
wick (then occupied by William Sinclair, who built it),
to attend these markets, and with the result of the mal-
treatment of persons with whom Freswick was at variance. 1
Many of the lairds of this period, besides indulging largely
in the luxury of litigation, passed portions of the year in
Edinburgh, accompanied by members of their families, and
went into good society, although few of them had incomes
exceeding 200 to 300 a year.
1 About I739lor 1740 a dispute arose of followers, armed with flails, scythes,
between Freswick and George Murray and suchlike implements. Freswick,
of Clairden in regard to the right of as tutor for his nephew, William of
taking a description of sea-fowl, locally Rattar, the proprietor, proceeded to the
called " Layers or Liarts," and supposed Craig with eight followers, armed with
to be the Puffin, from the rocks at Craig broadswords and pistols. A scuffle
of Dunnet. Murray, as possessor of ensued, in which Clairden received
Dunnet, under a wadset, proceeded to some personal damage, and had the
exercise the privilege, along with a band worst of the fight.
THE ST. CLAIES OR SINCLAIRS,
EARLS OF CAITHNESS.
I. WILLIAM ST. GLAIR, EARL OF ORKNEY, obtained The st. ciairs
a grant 01 the Earldom of Caithness in 1455 from Earls of Caith-
James II. He was the first of this family who enjoyed n
the dignity. He held many high public offices, possessed
extensive landed property, and had in his time great
influence ; and he appears to have lived in his castle at
Roslyn in almost regal splendour. In personal appear-
ance he is described as having been " a very fair man, of
great stature, broad bodied, yellow haired, and well pro-
portioned," and to be "much given to policy, as building
of castles, palaces, and churches," among which were
Roslyn Castle and its celebrated Chapel.
He was twice married first, to Margaret, daughter
of Archibald, fourth Earl of Douglas, 1 by whom he had a
son, William, named " Williame the Waster," ancestor of
the Lords Sinclair, and a daughter, Catharine, married
to Alexander, Duke of Albany. He married, secondly,
Marjorie, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath.
In Gordon's " History of the Family of Sutherland,"
1 [She was widow [of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, and of Sir Thomas
Stewart, natural son of Alexander, Earl of Mar.]
2 THE ST. CLAIBS OR SINCLAIRS,
The st. Claire this Alexander Sutherland is stated to have been the
of caith- eldest son of John, Earl of Sutherland ; and down to
1771 this was the general opinion of Scottish genea-
logists. But it was then proved in the Sutherland
peerage case, by the production of his original will, that
he was alive in 1456, and that he had several sons and
daughters, whereas Alexander, Master of Sutherland,
appears to have died about 1444, when the earldom
went to his younger brother. It is uncertain of what
family Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath was, but it is
probable that he was of the Thorboll or Duffus branch of
the family of Sutherland. It is on the supposed descent
of Sutherland of Dunbeath from the Earl of Sutherland,
and on the belief that his daughter Marjorie was the
Earl's granddaughter, that the close blood connection,
assumed by Douglas and others to have existed between
the Earls of Caithness and Sutherland, is founded.
By his second marriage Earl William had issue
1. Sir Oliver of Roslyn.
2. William, his successor in the earldom.
3. Sir David of Swinburgh.
4. Robert, mentioned in a Crown charter in 1506.
5. John, Bishop nominate of Caithness.
William Sinclair of Warsetter in Orkney, who mar-
ried a daughter of George, Earl of Huntly, was probably
a son or grandson of Earl William.
His daughters, by the second marriage, were
1. Eleanor ; 2. Marion ; 3. Elizabeth ; 4. Marjorie.
EARLS OF CAITHNESS. 3
The seniority of Sir Oliver, and his brother-german The st. ciairs
William, has been a matter of controversy. The unequal Jab of 0"ith-
distribution of their father's large succession has been ness '
considered to support the seniority of Sir Oliver, " for"
as observed in Father Hay's account of the family of
Roslyn " while the second Earl does not seem to have
inherited anything beyond the barren domains belonging
to the earldom, Sir Oliver received Eoslyn and other
extensive properties, any one of which was worth the
fee-simple of the northern estates made over to his
Nisbet, whose work was written about the beginning
of last century, says, " To clear the seniority of these
sons, I have seen a contract of the date the 9th of
February 1481, betwixt William Sinclair (William the
Waster), son and heir of the deceased William, Earl of
Orkney, Lord Sinclair and Zetland, and Henry Sinclair,
son and apparent heir of the said William Sinclair, on
the one part, and Sir Oliver Sinclair of Rosline, on the
other part, whereby the said Sir Oliver freely resigns
and gives over to the said William and his son and
apparent heir, Henry, the lands of Causland, Dysart, and
Ravensheugh, with the castles ; and, on the other part,
William and his son Henry renounce all right to the
barony of Rosline, Pentland Mure, etc., in favour of
Sir Oliver and his heirs; and the said Oliver obliges
himself that he shall in time coming do worship and
honour to the said William as accords him to do to
THE ST. CLAIRS OR SINCLAIRS,
an elder brother, and if it happen any plea or debate
of du caith-to be betwixt the said William and his younger
brother " (WiUiam, afterwards second Earl of Caithness)
"for the earldom of Caithness, the said Sir Oliver
shall stand evenly and neuter betwixt them as he
should do betwixt his brothers, and take no partial part
with either of them." 1
II. WILLIAM, SECOND EARL, obtained a charter
from King James in., on his father's resignation in
1476, of the earldom, including the patronage of the
Hospital of St. Magnus, at Spittal. In 1505 he sat
in Parliament as Earl of Caithness, and in 1513 he fell
By his wife, Mary, daughter of Sir William Keith of
Inveruggie, he had
1. John, his successor.
2. Alexander, ancestor of the first family of Sinclair
of Stemster and Dunbeath.
He had also a natural son, William, who was legiti-
1 Mr. Burnett, Lord Lyon, who had all the older 1433., Sir David Lindsay's
the perusal of these notes, writes on 4th included, which was close to that period,
November 1873, to Principal Campbell, a mullet for difference, is to me very
Aberdeen, "I observe he (Mr. Hender- convincing proof that Sir Oliver was
son) takes Nisbet's view of the respec- the third son of his father. This mark
tive seniority of Sir Oliver of Roslyn of cadency seems first to have been
and his brother William, Earl of Caith- allowed to be dropped in 1672, probably
ness. My own belief is quite the other in consequence of both Lord Sinclair
way ; the document quoted by Nisbet is and the Earl of Caithness having their
equally capable of either interpretation, arms otherwise differenced,
and the Sinclairs of Roslyn having in
EARLS OF CAITHNESS. 5
mised in 1543, but of whose descendants, if any, no The st. ciairs
. -, , -. . -i or Sinclairs,
account has been discovered. Ear i s O f a
III. JOHN, THIRD EARL, was slain in an expedi-
tion to Orkney in 1529. He married Elizabeth, daugh-
ter of Sir William Sutherland of Duffus, by whom he
1. William, who died in 1527, without issue.
2, George, his successor.
He had also a natural son, David, who held the office
of Bailie to the Bishop of Caithness. In 1556, David's
brother, Earl George, obtained a remission for imprisoning
him in Girnigo Castle.
IV. GEORGE, FOURTH EARL, was Justiciar of Caithness
by grant, in 1566, from Queen Mary ; and he was one of
the peers who sat on the trial of Bothwell.
He married Lady Elizabeth Graham, daughter of
William, Earl of Montr ose, and had
1. John, Master of Caithness.
2. William, who was first Laird of Mey, and ancestor
3. George of Mey, Chancellor of Caithness.
1. Barbara, who married Alexander, Earl of Suther-
land, and was divorced by him in 1573.
2. Elizabeth, married first to Alexander Sutherland
of Duffus, and thereafter to Hutcheon M'Kay of
Farr, ancestor of the Lords Reay.
6 THE ST. GLAIRS OB SINCLAIRS,
The st. ciairs 3. Another daughter, married to Alexander Innes, of
or Sinclairs, T
Earls of Caith- InneS.
Douglas mentions Janet St. Clair, a daughter of this
Earl, as third wife of Robert Munro of Foulis, said by
him to have died without issue. In 1582 Janet Sinclair,
Lady Foulis, had a Tack of the Parsonage of Spittal,
which belonged to the Caithness family.
John, Master of Caithness, died at Girnigo Castle in
1576. In 1543 he had obtained a charter from Queen
Mary, by which the earldom became a male fee, to him
and his heirs-male. He married Jean, daughter of
Patrick, Earl of Bothwell ; and had three sons and a
1. George, afterwards Earl of Caithness.
2. James, first of Murkle.
3. John, first of Greenland and Rattar.
Douglas gives the Master a legitimate son David, but
this is an error. In August 1587 David Sinclair obtained
a charter of Alterwall from Henry Keir of Greenland ;
and in a Crown charter which followed thereon he
is designated "Jilio naturali quond. Joannis Magistri
Cathanensis." In 1588 he obtained Letters of Legiti-
mation. He had two sons, John, killed at Thurso in
1612, and Colonel George, who perished in the same year
in the luckless expedition to Norway, of which full details
are to be found in Calder's " History of Caithness," and
elsewhere. In Chambers's "Domestic Annals" (vol. i. pp.
EARLS OF CAITHNESS.
445-6), it is stated that in the Pass Kringelen there is aThest. ciairs
tablet with the following inscription: " Here lies Colonel
Sinclair, who with nine hundred Scotsmen were dashed
to pieces like clay-pots by three hundred Boors of Lessoe,
Vaage, and Froen ; Berdon Segelstadt Bingeboe was the
leader of the Boors."
The Master had also a natural son, Henry, who got a
conveyance from his brother, Earl George, of part of the
lands of JBorrowstown and Lybster, with "the miln and
fishings," and in a reversion by him in favour of the
Earl dated 23d September 1606, he is designed as his
" brother naturall." By his wife, Janet Sutherland, he
had a son John, and he is probably the ancestor of a
family of Sinclairs of Lybster, who occur as Wadsetters
of these lands down to 1670.
In 1614, Henry Sinclair accompanied Earl George in
an expedition to Orkney, and it is related by Gordon
that, while besieging the Castle of Kirkwall, he " went
to bed at night in health, but before the morning he was
benummed in all his sences, and remained so until his
death," an event evidently considered by the historian
as a judgment on the Earl's proceedings.
V. GEORGE, FIFTH EARL, succeeded bis grandfather in
1583. 1 He married Jean Gordon, daughter of George,
fifth Earl of Huntly, and had two sons ; and a daughter
Elizabeth, named in Douglas's Peerage Anne, who married
8 THE ST. GLAIRS OK SINCLAIRS,
The st. ciairs George, Lord Lindsay, afterwards Earl of Crawfurd, and
or Sinclairs, .. .
Earis of Caith- died without issue. Inventory of Caithness titles.
1. William, Lord Berriedale, who married Mary,
daughter of Henry Lord Sinclair. He died
before his father, leaving a son, John, Master of
Berriedale, who married Jean, daughter of the
Earl of Seaforth, and died in 1639. John had
three sons, George, afterwards sixth Earl ; and
John and William, who died before him.
2. Francis of Northfield, who married Elizabeth,
daughter of Lord Eraser, and had a son, George
Sinclair of Keiss, afterwards seventh Ear], and
a daughter "Jean, Lady Mey," who died in
Francis Sinclair had a natural daughter, Margaret,
who in 1653 married John, son of Alexander Sutherland
in Lybster, to whom her father promised a tocher of 700
merks, which, however, the cautioners in the contract of
marriage, Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster, and John Smart,
Minister of Wick, were compelled to pay.
Earl George had two natural sons, Francis, who,
about 162 1, 1 fought a duel with his relative, Sir William
Sinclair of Mey ; and John, who attained the rank of
Lieutenant- Colonel in the German wars. From Francis
Sinclair are descended the Sinclairs of Stirkoke.
VI. GEORGE, SIXTH EAKL, married Mary, daughter
1 Gordon, p. 450. 2 1643-1676.
EARLS OF CAITHNESS. 9
of the Marquis of Argyle, and died at Thurso Castle in The st. ciairs
..-. . . orSinclairs,
1676, Without ISSUe. Earls of Caith-
The earldom being much involved in debt, Earl
George disponed the estates and title to his principal
creditor, John Campbell of Glenorchy, who, on the Earl's
death, married the Countess, and was created Earl of
Caithness by patent. Glenorchy's right to the title was
challenged by George Sinclair of Keiss, son of Francis
Sinclair of, Northfield, and after a proclamation in favour
of the latter by the Privy Council in 1681, Glenorchy
was created Earl of Breadalbane and Holland.
VII. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF KEISS, SEVENTH EARL OF
CAITHNESS/ and grandson of the fifth Earl, died in 1698
With George Sinclair the heirs-male of the body of
the fifth Earl came to an end, and the succession to the
dignity opened to the descendants of James Sinclair,
first of Murkle, in the person of his grandson, John
Sinclair, then of Murkle.
VIII. JOHN, EIGHTH EARL, S was eldest son of Sir
James Sinclair, second of Murkle, and married Jean
Carmichael of the Hyndford family. 3
In March 1644 his father resigned the lands of
Murkle in favour of himself and of John, styled his
1 1681-98. rary, calls her simply "Jean Carmi-
2 1698-1705. chael." Mr. C. H. E. CarmichaeFs almost
3 [So designed in Douglas's Peerage, exhaustive researches in Carmichael
1764. Crawfurd, nearly a contempo- genealogy have failed to affiliate her.]
10 THE ST. GLAIRS OR SINCLAIRS,
The st. ciairs eldest lawful son, and the heirs of his body, whom failing,
* of ciith to the other heirs-male of his body.
Earl John died in 1705, leaving four sons and a
1. Alexander, his successor.
2. John, Lord Murkle, one of the Senators of the
College of Justice, who left no issue.
3. Francis, of Milton of Lieurary, who left no issue.
1. Lady Janet, who married, in 1714, David Sinclair of
Southdun, and had several children. (Vide Southdun.)
IX. ALEXANDER, NINTH EARL/ married Lady Mar-
garet Primrose, daughter of the Earl of Rosebery, and
died in 1765, leaving an only child, Lady Dorothea, who
married James, Earl of Fife, and died in 1819, without
In 1761 the Earl executed an entail of his estates, in
virtue of which, on failure of his heirs therein mentioned,
they passed to the Sinclairs of Stevenson, a family not
related to that of Murkle.
Earl Alexander resided at Haimer Castle, 2 which after
1 1705-65. been on a very moderate scale, the Earl
2 Haimer seems to have been a square having apparently possessed but a dozen
building, like a tower or fortalice, and and a half of silver spoons of all kinds,
to have contained some eight or nine an old tea-kettle and lamp, sugar-tongs
rooms, including dining-room, drawing- and spoon, a couple of small salvers, a
room, tea-room, two " pavilions," a few tankard, and some plated candlesticks,
bedrooms, with sundry closets, cellars, and the like. Sumptuary laws were
etc. From an inventory of the plate, less required in Earl Alexander's days
the establishment would appear to have than in our time.
EARLS OF CAITHNESS. 11
his death was allowed to fall into disrepair, and now no The st. ciairs
.. . . orSinclairs,
vestige of it remains. Earis of caith-
On the death of Earl Alexander the male issue of uess '
John the eighth Earl, and of his father, Sir James
Sinclair, and of his grandfather, James, first of Murkle,
became extinct, and the succession of the title devolved
on William Sinclair of Rattar, as the lineal descendant
of Sir John Sinclair of Greenland and Rattar, third son
of John, Master of Caithness, and younger brother of
James, first of Murkle.
Sir James of Murkle had a son, David of Broynach,
whose male descendants would have succeeded to the
dignity in preference to the Greenland and Rattar
branch, but his grandson, James, who claimed the title,
failed to establish the legitimacy of his father, David, son
of David Sinclair of Broynach, and William of Eattar
was served heir-male ; 1 and in May 1772 the Committee
of Privileges adjudged the title to him. This was the
second instance in which a remote heir-male had suc-
ceeded to this peerage, to the exclusion of the heir of
line, for Lady Fife did not claim the title.
X. WILLIAM, TENTH EARL, married Barbara, daughter
of John Sinclair of Scotscalder, and died in 1779. He
had five sons and two daughters :
1. John, his successor; 2. William, an officer, who
died in America, unmarried ; 3. James ; 4. Alex-
ander; 5. David.
1 November 1768.
12 THE ST. CLAIRS OR SINCLA1RS,
The st. ciairs These three died young and unmarried.
inC f 'earth- 1. Lady Isabella, who died unmarried.
2. Lady Janet, who married James Traill of Rattar.
XI. JOHN, ELEVENTH EARL, succeeded in 1779, and
died unmarried in 1789, in his thirty-third year ; and
with him ended the direct male line of the family of
Greenland and Rattar.
The Sinclairs of Freswick, descended from that
William Sinclair of Ratter, who died in 1663, were the
only collaterals of the family of Greenland and Rattar ;
and had John of Freswick survived John, the eleventh
Earl, he would have succeeded to the earldom. He died,
however, in 1784, without surviving male issue, and the
title devolved on Sir James Sinclair of Mey, the lineal
descendant of George, one of the younger sons of George,
the fourth Earl.
XII. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR OF MEY, TWELFTH EARL,
was served as nearest lawful heir-male of William, second
Earl of Caithness, in May 1790, and his claim to the
peerage was sustained by the House of Lords. He mar-
ried Jane, daughter of Alexander Campbell of Barcaldine
and his wife Helen, daughter of George Sinclair of
Ulbster, and had issue.
It is to be hoped that the dignity will long remain in
the present line ; but in the possibility of the failure of an
heir-male, the next in succession would seem to be the
EARLS OF CAITHNESS. 13
heir-male of Robert Sinclair of Durran, whom failing, the The st. ciairs
heir-male (if any) of George Sinclair, first of Olrig, and Earis of caith-
whom failing, the heir-male of George Sinclair, first of ne
Barrock. These exhaust the elder branch of the Caith-
ness family, and failing them the title would apparently
become extinct, unless an heir is to be found in the
descendants of Alexander Sinclair of Stemster and Dun-
beath, second son of William, the second Earl.
THE SINCLAIES OF STEMSTEE AND
The sinciairs of GORDON, in his " Genealogy of the Sutherland Family,'*
Dunbeath. states that " Dunbeath was given to the Sinciairs " by
that William, Earl of Sutherland, who died in 1370, at
the time when, by the distribution of lands to his friends,
he was strengthening his interests in prospect of his
son's succession to the Scottish Crown. But there is no
evidence either that the Sinclair family had a footing in
Caithness at so early a date, or that Dunbeath did at
any time belong to the Earl of Sutherland. It is true
that the earliest writ concerning Dunbeath supposed to
be now extant, is a precept of sasine, dated 24th October
1429, granted by Alexander de Isle, Earl of Ross, for
infefting his sister, Marietta, and her husband, Alex-
ander de Sutherland, in the lands of Dunbeath, and that
this Alexander Sutherland was, down to 1771, considered
to have been the Master of Sutherland, as the eldest son
of John, tenth Earl of Sutherland, but it is now certain
that Sutherland of Dunbeath was not a son of the
In 1507 Dunbeath was in possession of the family of
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH. 15
Innes of Innes. In 1529, 1 on the resignation of Alex- The sinciairs of
ander Innes, a Crown charter erecting Dunbeath, Reay,
and Sandside into a barony was granted in favour of
I. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR, son of William, second
Earl of Caithness, and Elizabeth Innes, his wife. This
lady was no doubt of the family of Innes of Innes, and it
is probable that through her marriage to Alexander
Sinclair these estates came for the first time into the
Sinclair family. In 1507 Alexander Sinclair had obtained
a Crown charter of Stemster, and thus he appears to
have been the first Sinclair of Stemster and Dunbeath.
The Crown charter in 1529 contains the following clause
of some antiquarian interest " cum mulierum merchetis
cum furca, fossa, sok, sak, thole, thieme, infangtheif,
outfangtheif, pit, et gallons. " Various explanations of
the "mercheta mulierum" have been given, some of
them sufficiently barbarous, but according to Hailes it
really seems to have been the right of levying a fine
from a serf or villain, on the marriage of his daughter.
About 1657 the lands of Inverse of Dunbeath were
erected into a burgh of barony, to be called the burgh of
Alexander Sinclair had two sons and a daughter :
2. Oliver, no doubt so named after his grand-uncle,
Sir Oliver of Eoslyn. He is frequently men-
i llth January 1529.
16 THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH.
The sinciairs of tioned as the " brother-german " of William ; and
Stemsterand . . _ . . .
Dunbeath. m a curious document given in the "Account
of the Family of Lines," 1 entitled "The Maister
of Elphinstoun's Letter," he occurs as " Oliephare
Syncklare, brother to William Syncklare of Dun-
beytht. In the "Topography of Scotland," by
John Harding, between 1437 and 1460, there
is reference to the " Castel of Dunbeke " as north
of the " Water of Suthyrland."
I. Isabel, daughter of Alexander Sinclair, married
Gilbert Gordon of Garty, uncle to John, fifth
Earl of Sutherland. She has attained an un-
enviable notoriety as a murderer, by poison, of
the Earl and his lady in 1567, for the purpose
of opening the way for her own son's succession
to the earldom.
Alexander Sinclair seems to have died before 1541.
His widow, Elizabeth Innes, appears also to have been
dead about 1557, seeing that her son, William, then got
a grant of the non-entry dues of Dunbeath and the barony,
of which lands his father and mother had been joint fiars.
II. WILLIAM, SECOND OF DUNBEATH, was apparently
a minor, and unmarried, when his father died, for, in 1541,
Oliver Sinclair of Pitcarnie, styled also of Solway Moss,
obtained a grant of his casualty of marriage, and he was
not infeft as heir to his father until 1557. 2
1 Forbes, p. 138. 2 Precept, May 1557.
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH. 17
In 1562 and 1564 William Sinclair obtained from The Smciairs oi
Adam, Bishop of Orkney, charters of Downreay; Brubster,
Thura, and others, and in 1557 he got a Crown charter
of confirmation. The charters from the bishop are
alleged by Gordon to have been obtained through the
fraudulent use of the title-deeds, which are said to have
been deposited in the hands of William Sinclair, in
confidence, by John, Earl of Sutherland, whose sister he
had married. This story is repeated in the " Origines
Parochiales," but both it and Sinclair's alleged complicity
with his sister in the crime of poisoning the Earl, in order
to escape the consequences of his fraud, must be ranked
among the spiteful assertions so frequently made by
Gordon when he has occasion to notice Caithness affairs.
The Earl lived several years after William Sinclair had
obtained the bishop's charters, and not only were they
acquired on the Earl's own resignation of the lands, but
there is nothing to show that William Sinclair's title was
ever called in question by the Earl.
In 1547 William Sinclair obtained from William
Gordon, Treasurer of Caithness, and Rector and Parson
of St. Magnus' Hospital at Spittal, a charter of Mybster
and Spittal, which was confirmed by Queen Mary in
William Sinclair was twice married first (according
to Gordon, who is the more reliable authority in this
instance), to Beatrix, daughter of Alexander, Master of
Sutherland, and sister of John, Earl of Sutherland; or
18 THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH.
The sinciairs of (according to Douglas), to Beatrix, the Earl's daughter.
Dunbeath. His second wife was Margaret, only child of Alexander
Innes of Innes, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John,
fifth Lord Forbes. After her fathers death in 1553,
Margaret Innes obtained a Crown charter of the lands
of Ogston and others in Morayshire.
Forbes and Douglas concur in saying that Margaret
Innes married " a brother of the Earl of Caithness ;" and
the former states that the Earl had sent over his brother,
William Sinclair, to Morayshire, " to woo the lady for
him," but that she preferred himself to the Earl; and
that he got with her, for tocher, the Dunbeath and
Reay estates, and also the lands of Monbeens, Leuchars,
Inche, and others, near Elgin. For this story there is
no foundation, since Dunbeath, Reay, and Sandside had
certainly been acquired by the Sinciairs in 1529. Besides,
William Sinclair was not the brother of an Earl of
William Sinclair had five sons, and of these it has
been supposed that by his first wife, Lady Beatrix
Gordon, he had William, Richard, and George, and by
his second wife, Henry and David. It is certain, how-
ever, that WiUiam was a son of the second marriage. In
1540 Margaret Innes had got from her natural brother,
James Innes of Elrick, the lands of Over and Nether
Monbeens; and in 1575 a precept was granted by her
and her husband for infefting therein " William Sinclair
of Stemster ;" and Forbes, in noticing the infeftment on
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH. 10
this precept, mentions him as the eldest son and heir The Smciairs of
of William Sinclair of Dunbeath and Margaret Innes.
Whether any of the other sons were certainly of the first
marriage, it is difficult to say. The sons were
1. William, designed "of Stemster" which, being the
original family estate, was" most likely to have
devolved on his father's actual eldest son and
heir, without reference to a first or second mar-
riage is supposed to have married Janet, eldest
daughter of George, fourth Earl of Caithness.
He died before his father, leaving a son George.
2. Richard, who got from his father in 1589 a charter
of Mybster, Achalipster, and a two penny land
of Spittal. In 1620 he was served heir to his
brothers, Henry and David, and was styled of
Brims. He seems not to have died before 1625.
He had two sons, Alexander and Oliver, and a
daughter. Alexander, styled also of Brims, died
before his father. In 1619 Alexander married
Anna, daughter of Hugh M'Kay of Scourie and
Fair, and his wife Lady Jane, eldest daughter of
Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, and he had two
sons, John and William. John was served heir in
Brims to his father Alexander and his grandfather
Richard. He married Anna M'Kay, by whom
he had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married her
cousin, John M'Kay, second of Strathy, and was
afterwards styled " Mistress of Strathy." There
20 THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUKBEATH.
The sinciairs of is some uncertainty as to her mother, Anna
Dunbeatb! M'Kay, but she is believed to have been daughter
of Colonel Hugh M'Kay of Scourie. In 1647
John Sinclair and Hugh M'Kay of Dirlot and
Strathy, who were cousins -german, executed a
mutual entail. To this deed one of the witnesses
was "James Sinclair of Gallowhill, brother-in-
law to Brims 'and Keeper of a Copy/" About
1660 John Sinclair sold Brims to John Sinclair
of Tannach. Of William, second son of Alexander
of Brims, no particulars have been learned.
Oliver, second son of Richard Sinclair, got, in
1630, a lifer ent tack of Spittal from his nephew,
John of Brims. The daughter of Richard Sin-
clair married Alexander Bayne of Clyth, a man
of some mark in his time, son of Henry Bayne
in Mybster. In 1631 her brother Oliver granted
a bond for 500 merks, as part of her tocher.
3. George Sinclair in Downreay and in Durran, the
third son of William of Dunbeath, is not much
noticed. In 1643 he renounced a bond over
Brims, in favour of his grand-nephew, John of
Brims. He had a son, John, and a daughter,
Barbara, who, in 1640, married David Sinclair
of Lybster, in Reay, a descendant probably of
Henry Sinclair of Lybster, natural son of John,
Master of Caithness. It is conjectured that
James Sinclair of Borlum, and latterly of Toft-
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTEB AND DUNBEATH. 21
kemp, who held Brubster and many of the The sinciairs of
lands which belonged to the Dunbeath family, may
possibly have been a son of this George Sinclair.
4. Henry Sinclair of Brubster and Brims, who died
without issue, probably before 1610, for, in that
year his brother Richard, who was served heir
to him in 1620, is designed "of Brims." This
appears in a renunciation signed at Brims by
Margaret Innes, widow of their father. In 1586
he got a Crown charter of Ormlie.
5. David Sinclair of Thura, who died also without
William Sinclair of Dunbeath, who led a long and
active life, was much harassed in his old age by his
relation the Earl of Caithness. Among other acts of
violence the Earl ''wasted Dunbeath by fire and sword,
1 In reference to the j'ounger children and David in 1598, when he is designed
of William Sinclair, Mr. Alexander Sin- of Mybaster (Mybster). Then he is of
clair writes as follows (March 1867) : Browmes (Brims), in 1620. His oldest
" 1. Henry, son of Margaret Innes, son, Alexander, is only married in 1619
died s.p., and his brother Eichard, in to the first Anna M'Kay, leaving John
1620, and Richard's grandson, John of and William, 1617; and Richard had
Brims, in 1664, were both served heirs also a son, Olypher, of Spittal, 1647.
to him. Richard had also a brother, George of
"2. David, whom you call 'of Thura,' Downra, 1643. But in all this there is
another son of Margaret Innes, also no opening for James of Thura or his
died s.p., as Richard was served heir sons. When Brims comes off Dunbeath
to him in 1620 in Thura and Borlum. in Henry and Richard, and when the
"3. Richard's history is difficult. He mutual settlement of Brims and Strathy
is son of William in 1569, in contra- takes place in 1647, the only younger
distinction to the sons of Margaret branches possible seem to be John's
Innes, who were minors in 1588. He brother, William, and his uncle, Oly-
is styled lawful son, and put after Henry pher."
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH.
The sinciairs of and besieged him in his house at Downreay ; " until at
Dunbeath. length he retired to Moray shire, among his wife's friends,
and there died in 1608. In the register of Confirmed
Testaments, 1606-13, there is an entry of the " Testa-
ment Testamentar, latter will and legacie and inventar of
ye gudes and gear of umq 1 an hon le man William Sinclair
of Dunbeath." He was succeeded by his grandson,
III. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF DUNBEATH, who married
Margaret, daughter of John, eighth Lord Forbes, and
died in 1624, leaving an only child Margaret, of whom
no further notice is found.
George Sinclair's grandfather had resigned the estates
in his favour in 1590, and, in May 1591, he obtained a
Crown charter of confirmation. He was either facile,
or a spendthrift, for, in 1602, he put himself under
"Interdiction." In 1610 he resigned the barony in
favour of his brother-in-law Arthur, Lord Forbes ; and
in 1624, Alexander, Master of Forbes, sold Dunbeath
for 28,518 merks, or about 1550 sterling, to John
Sinclair of Geanies, son of George Sinclair of Mey, who
thus became the first of the second family of Sinciairs
of Dunbeath; "and thus," writes Gordon in 1630, with
apparent satisfaction, " God in His just judgment hath
not left the authors of the Earl of Sutherland's death
unpunished; for Dunbeath, his house and familie, is
now perished as we see, and his estate is come into a
THE SINCLAIRS OF STEMSTER AND DUNBEATH. 23
The remainder of the barony, and the lands of Spittal The smciairs of
and Mybster, were acquired by Sir Donald M'Kay, first
Lord Eeay. In 1624 he was infeft, on a charter by the
Bishop of Orkney, in Thura, Borlum, Downreay, and
Brubster; and about the same time Saridside was pur-
chased from Lord Forbes by William Innes, ancestor of
the family of Innes of Sandside.
The only known existing descendants of the family of
Sinclair of ^ Stemster and Dunbeath are the descendants
of Hugh and William, the elder and younger sons of
Elizabeth, only child of John Sinclair of Brims by her
marriage to John M'Kay, second of Strathy. For these
reference is made to M'Kay's " History of the House and
Clan of M'Kay."
THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE.
The Sinclairs of I. JAMES SINCLAIR, FIRST OF MURKLE, -Was the S6COnd
son of John, Master of Caithness, and grandson of
George, fourth Earl of Caithness. He is frequently,
but erroneously styled Sir James ; the only knight
of the family having been his son and successor, Sir
The original estate of Murkle, as possessed by James
Sinclair, and his wife, and their son Sir James, was
acquired at various times between 1586 and 1637,
chiefly from George, fifth Earl of Caithness, and his son
William, Lord Berriedale ; the Bishops of Orkney and
Caithness ; and the Earls of Sutherland. Without
attempting to trace the various changes of possession
which took place from time to time, it is sufficient to say
that the family estate in which Sir James Sinclair was
infeft consisted of Murkle, East and West, and Clairdon ;
one-half of Ormlie, Thurdistoft, Acharascal, and Carna-
biud, Lybster, and Borrowstone, all held of the Earl of
Caithness ; one-half of Ormlie, held of the Bishop of
Caithness ; Downreay, held of the Bishop of Orkney ;
and Broynach, held of the Earl of Sutherland, Subse-
THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE. 25
quently the following lands were acquired by the family, The sinciairs of
viz. Isauld, in 1723, by Alexander Sinclair of Murkle,
ninth Earl of Caithness ; and Brubster and Brims in
1726-27, by his brother, Lord Murkle, to whom Alexander
succeeded, as heir of conquest.
James Sinclair, first of Murkle, married Elizabeth
Stewart, daughter of Robert, Earl of Strathearn and
Orkney, a natural son of King James v., and he had
two sons and a daughter
1. James, his successor.
2. Francis, who served in the German wars, and who
is stated by Gordon to have held the rank of
serjeant-major. In 162 1 1 he had returned to
Scotland, and married Janet, daughter of Alex-
ander Sutherland of Forse, by whom he had a
son, James, who left no issue. In a procuratory
of resignation of Murkle by Sir James Sinclair
in 1644, James Sinclair is mentioned as " eldest
lawful son" of Francis, his brother, and in the
Peerage case it was held that there was no
other son of Francis.
I. Agnes, who married John M'Kay of Dirlot and
James Sinclair had also a natural son, John Sinclair,
first of Assery. Vide Assery. 2
II. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR, KNIGHT, appears to have
1 Contract of Marriage, 19th July 1621. 2 Peerage case.
26 THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE.
The sinciairs of been twice married. In January 1633 a disposition was
granted by him, with consent of Daine Margaret Dundas,
his spouse, of part of the lands of Ormlie ; and in October
1634 there is a contract of marriage between him and
Jean, eldest daughter of William Stewart of Burray, who
is therein designed of " Manur." By Jean Stewart he
had two sons and five daughters :
1. John, afterwards eighth Earl of Caithness.
2 . David of Broynach, who died between 1713 and 1716.
David Sinclair of Broynach married a daughter of
William Sinclair of Dun, by whom he had a son, James,
and a daughter, Elizabeth. 1 James died about 1754,
without issue. Elizabeth married James Whyte, in
Meikle Clyth, afterwards in Thurso, and had two
daughters, Henrietta and Jean. Henrietta Whyte
married William Miller, and had a son, James, and a
daughter, Isabella. Jean Whyte married Donald Oagg,
weaver and merchant in Thurso, and had two sons,
James and Donald, and two daughters, Janet and Anne.
On the death of Lady Fife, only daughter of Alexander
Sinclair of Murkle, ninth Earl of Caithness, James and
Isabella Miller, and Donald and Anne Oagg, claimed and
obtained a share of her executry, 2 as the great grand-
children of David of Broynach, Lady Fife's grand-uncle.
David of Broynach had also, by one Janet Ewen, 3 or
1 See proof in Peerage case. vant, David of Broynach had two sons,
2 Receipt, 26th September 1789. David and Donald, and two daughters.
3 By Janet Ewen, who was his ser- David, the eldest son, enlisted as a
THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE. 27
Ewing, a son, David, who was reputed to be illegitimate, The smciairs of
and on his death the Earl refused to permit him to be
buried in his bury ing- place. On the death of Earl
Alexander, James Sinclair, in Reiss, son of the reputed
illegitimate son, David, and grandson of David of Broy-
nach, claimed the title, on the allegation of his father's
legitimacy, in opposition to William Sinclair of Rattar.
In conjoined claims to be served heir before the Macers,
after proof by both parties, the jury, on 28th November
1768, pronounced a verdict by a majority in favour of
Rattar, which, after various proceedings before the
Court of Session, was confirmed. In 1786 James Sinclair
threatened to renew his claim to the title ; but in 1788 he
died, and the question of his father's legitimacy became
unimportant, inasmuch as he had no issue, and no other
heir-male of his grandfather then remained alive.
1. Jean, the eldest daughter. 1
2. Mary, who married, first, George Sinclair of Forss,
and, on his death, William Sutherland of
3. Anne, " Mistress of Stemster," who married Alex-
ander Sinclair of Stemster, son of Alexander of
soldier, and married one Margaret 1767 except one named Anne, who
More or M'Kay, by whom he had a married Alexander Millis, merchant in
son, James, who resided in Reiss, and Banff. Janet Ewing was buried in the
John, who was alive in 1767. Donald Old Kirk of Olrig, under Durran's
Sinclair, David's second son, went to seat.
sea, and married, and had a son and l Disposition by her mother, 18th
five daughters, who were all dead in May 1692.
28 THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE.
The smciairs of 4. Barbara, who married James Cunningham of
5. Katharine, who married Walter Innes of Skaill.
III. JOHN SINCLAIR OF MURKLE succeeded to the
earldom of Caithness in 1698 as the eighth Earl, and
died in 1705. He married Jean Carmichael of the Hynd-
ford family, by whom he had four sons and a daughter :
2. John, Lord Murkle, of the Court of Session, who
married Jean, daughter of the first Earl of Cro-
marty, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Sir James
Sinclair of Mey. He died in 1755 without issue.
3. Francis, who died without issue in 1762. In a
disposition in 1760 by him of the lands of
Milton of Lieurary and others, he settles the
lands on the " heirs-male of the marriage then
subsisting between him and Mrs. Janet Morrison."
4. Archibald, who also died without issue. 1
1. Lady Janet, who married David Sinclair of South
Dun, by whom she had a daughter, Janet, who
married Stewart Threipland of Fingask, and
IV. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF MURKLE, NINTH EARL
OF CAITHNESS, married Margaret, daughter of the first
Earl of Rosebery, by whom he had an only child
1 Peerage case.
THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE. 29
Lady Dorothea, who married James, Earl of Fife, and The sinciairs of
v i ,! , Murkle.
died without issue.
Earl Alexander had two natural sons, George Sinclair
in Geise, who died without issue, and Peter, who had a
son, James, who died without issue, and seven daughters,
of whom six married and had issue.
William Sinclair of Rattar was the lawful heir of
Earl Alexander on failure of his own family, they being
descended from two brothers, James Sinclair, first of
Murkle, and Sir John Sinclair, first of Greenland and
Rattar. But they do not seem to have been on friendly
terms, for in his correspondence with George Sinclair of
Woodhall, Lord of Session, in reference to a settlement
of his estates, Earl Alexander says : " Rattar is next
tho' very remote. Though he lives within four miles of
me he never comes to see me, from which it seems he is
disobliged because I did not give him all I had, and
depend for subsistence on his generosity. He cannot be
very wise, for he could not have taken a more effectual
way to disappoint his expectations."
. Earl Alexander died in 1765. In 1761 he executed
an entail of the estate of Murkle and his other lands, by
which, on failure of his own heirs therein mentioned, the
property was disponed to Lord Woodhall and the heirs-
male of his body, and failing them to his, Lord Wood-
hall's, nearest lawful heirs-male of line ; and under this
destination the succession was taken up on the Earl's
death by Sir John Sinclair of Stevenson, Lord Woodhall's
30 THE SINCLAIRS OF MURKLE.
The sinciairs of nephew. The Sinclairs of Stevenson are descended from
the Sinclairs of Longformacus, a branch of the family of
Roslyn. Sir Gregory Sinclair, third son of Sir William
of Roslyn, flourished in the reign of Robert the Bruce,
and the first Sinclair of Stevenson was George, second
son of Matthew, ninth Laird of Longformacus, who died
about 1620. His son, John, was a merchant in Edinburgh,
and was created a baronet, and purchased Stevenson and
other lands. He is now represented by Sir Robert
Charles Sinclair of Stevenson and Murkle, his lineal
descendant, and ninth baronet of Stevenson.
THE SINCLAIRS OF ASSERY.
I. JAMES SINCLAIR, FIRST OF MURKLE, had a son The sinciairs of
named John, who, in a charter granted by his father in
1615, to 'which he was an instrumentary witness, is
designed "filio naturali dicti Jacobi Sinclair de Murkel;"
and who, in a bond dated 28th January 1619, also by
his father, and in which he was cautioner, is mentioned
as " John Sinclair, son natural" of the granter. In 1628
John Sinclair obtained from William, Lord Berriedale, a
charter of the lands of Assery, to himself in liferent, and
to his eldest son, James, in fee. In 1631 he got a charter
of Brawlbin ; and in 1633 a wadset of Forsie ; and from
him are descended the Sinciairs of Assery, of Lybster, of
Geise, and of Scotscalder.
John Sinclair was twice married, and had by his first
1. James, his successor.
2. Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Sinclair, who, in 1659,
married Anna, daughter of Francis Sinclair of
Stirkoke. In 1680, their daughter, Margaret,
married David Henderson of Gersay, son of
William Henderson of Nottingham and his wife,
THE SINCLATRS OF ASSERY.
The sinciairs of Janet Gordon, widow of James Sutherland of
John Sinclair's second wife was Margaret Davidson,
who is traditionally supposed to have been of the David-
sons in Achingills or Buckies, and by her he had
1. John Sinclair, first of Lybster.
2. William, who, in 1670, held the wadset of Forsie,
and who was afterwards in Ulgrimbeg and Ulgri-
more. He married Jean, daughter of William
Sinclair of Dun, and had two daughters, Mary
and Elizabeth. The former married, in 1705,
Donald Gunn in Achalibster.
3. George, mentioned in 1652 and 1660.
1. Grizzel, who married John Doull, wadsetter of
Thuster, near Wick. Vide Doulls.
2. Isabell, who married, first, Arthur Forbes, mer-
chant in Edinburgh, and, second, William Sinclair
3. Janet, who married, in 1616, George Munro,
Sheriff- Clerk of Caithness.
In a deed executed in 1665 by James, the eldest son
of John Sinclair, in which he reserves Margaret David-
son's liferent of Assery, she is designed "my mother,"
but she appears to have been only his stepmother, seeing
that John Sinclair of Lybster is mentioned as the eldest
son of the second marriage.
II. JAMES SINCLAIR, SECOND OF ASSERY, married
THE SINCLAIRS OF ASSERY. 33
first, Elizabeth Balfour ; and, second, Margaret, daughter The sinciairs of
of David Munro, commissary of Caithness. He had
several sons and daughters :
1 . George, eldest son of his first marriage.
2. John, in Ulgrimbeg, married Bess Craigie. George
and John are named as brothers-german.
3. James, a merchant in Thurso, who died in 1713,
and had several sons, of whom Daniel was
minister of Longformacus. William was a mer-
ch'ant in Thurso, and Alexander was a notary-
public in Thurso, and married Jean, daughter of
James Sinclair of Wester-Brims.
1. Katharine, eldest daughter, married Alexander
Gibson, Dean of Bower from 1668 to 1682.
III. GEORGE SINCLAIR, THIRD OF ASSERY, was twice
married. His second wife was Isabel, daughter of
Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster. He had five sons and a
1. James, apparent in 1700.
2. John, called eldest lawful son in 1691.
4. George, eldest son of Isabel Sinclair.
5. Francis, also of the second marriage.
1. Elizabeth, the only daughter, married Richard
Sinclair of Thura.
The creditors of James, second of Assery, had led
apprisings against the estates, which were acquired by
34 THE SINCLAIRS OF ASSERY.
The sinciairs of Ulbster and Sir William Dunbar of Hempriggs. In 1675
Ulbster assigned his rights to John Sinclair (2) ; while,
in 1682, Sir William Dunbar conveyed his rights to
George Sinclair (4), then of Assery, and his sons, John
IV. JOHN SINCLAIR, FOURTH OF ASSERY, succeeded
his father, George, and in 1698 married Elizabeth Innes,
widow of Laurence Calder of Lynegar, by whom he had
an only son, John, his successor. He afterwards married
Barbara, daughter of Patrick Murray of Pennyland, by
whom he had an only child, Isabella, who married John
Sinclair of Scotscalder.
V. JOHN SINCLAIR, FIFTH OF ASSERY, was served heir
in general to his father, John, in 1728, and in 1765 he was
infeft as eldest lawful son. He married Katharine, eldest
daughter of Eobert Sinclair of Geise, and had
1. Isabella, eldest daughter, who married Eobert
Manson Sinclair of Bridgend.
3. Jean, who married Sir Benjamin Sinclair of Stem-
THE SINCLAIRS OF ASSERY. 35
VI. CAPTAIN EGBERT SINCLAIR, SIXTH OF ASSERY, The smciuirs of
was served heir to his father cum beneficio inventarii, in
1772. He married Katharine Sinclair, and had no issue.
The estate was brought to judicial sale by the
creditors, and Captain Sinclair having died during the
proceedings, they were continued against his brother,
John ; and in 1784 Assery and Brawl bin were purchased
by Ulbster. The trustees of Sir John Sinclair sold the
lands to Mr. Campbell, merchant in London, and from
him they were purchased by the late James Sinclair of
Forss, for about 9000.
THE SINCLAIRS OF LYBSTER
The Sinclairs of J. JoHN SINCLAIR, FIRST OF LYBSTER, Was eldest SOH
of John Sinclair, first of Assery, and his second wife,
Margaret Davidson. In 1647 he was appointed " Bailie
of Latheron" by the Earl of Caithness; in 1655 he ob-
tained a wadset of Lybster from the Earl of Caithness ;
and in 1692 the property was acquired by his son and
successor, who obtained the right of reversion of the
wadset. He married Beatrix Sinclair, supposed to have
been of the Thura family, and had
1. James, his successor.
2. George, whose only daughter, Beatrix, married
Alexander Sinclair of Sixpennyland.
I. Elizabeth, who married Alexander Boynd in
II. JAMES SINCLAIR, SECOND OF LYBSTER, married
Katharine, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster, and
had five sons and two daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. Patrick, in Northfield in 1702, and who had a son,
Alexander, afterwards of Lybster.
THE SINCLAIRS OF LYBSTER, 37
3. William of Hoy and Scotscalder. The sinciairs of
4. Robert of Geise, Advocate.
5. George (1731).
1. Beatrix, eldest daughter, who married, in 1707,
James Sutherland in Ausdale.
2. Elizabeth, who married John M'Kay in Kirtomy,
third son of John M'Kay of Strathy and Dirlot.
>. ' '. "H .
III. JpnN SINCLAIR, THIRD OF LYBSTER, styled " Fiar "
in 1694, and "of Lybster" in 1709, succeeded his father,
James, and died without issue.
IV. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR, FOURTH OF LYBSTER, was
the nephew of John, last of Lybster, and son of Patrick
Sinclair in Northfield. In 1710 he was served heir to
his uncle, and to his grandfather, James. He married
^Emilia, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Sixpenny, and
had a son and three daughters :
1. Patrick, his successor.
1. Katharine, eldest daughter, who married James
Sinclair of Harpsdale, and was his third wife.
2. Margaret, who died unmarried.
3. JSmilia, who died unmarried.
V. LIEUTENANT-GENERAL PATRICK SINCLAIR, FIFTH
OF LYBSTER, married Catharine Stewart, and had four
sons and a daughter :
1. Temple Frederick, his successor.
38 THE SINCLAIRS OF LYBSTER.
The sindairs of 2. Jeffrey, Surgeon-General in the Bombay Army,
who left two daughters.
3. Thomas Aubrey, Stipendiary Magistrate at Granada,
where he died unmarried.
4. Patrick, who died unmarried.
1. Susan, only daughter, who married David Laing,
Surgeon in Thurso, and died in 1865, leaving
VI. TEMPLE FREDERICK SINCLAIR, THE SIXTH AND
LAST OF LYBSTER, was a Captain in the Army, and died
unmarried. In 1868 the estate was sold by his trustees
to the Duke of Portland for 24,000.
THE SINCLAIRS OF SCOTSCALDER.
I. WILLIAM SINCLAIR, third son of James Sinclair of TI
Lybster, had the lands of Hoy and Geise, and in 1729,
he exchanged them with James Murray, son of Patrick
Murray of Pennyland, for the estate of Scotscalder,
which formed part of the Bishopric of Caithness, and
was acquired in feu by the Caithness family, and by
them wadsetted to the Murrays of Pennyland, who
afterwards acquired the right of reversion. In 1713
William Sinclair adjudged Ulgrimbeg and Ulgrimore
from the Sinclairs of Assery, and these lands were also
originally church lands. He had three sons and two
1. Alexander, of whom there is little further notice,
unless he is the same person as Alexander Sinclair
2. John, afterwards of Scotscalder.
3. Robert. In 1734 John Sinclair mentions his
" brother Robert " in a letter in which he orders
him to receive clothing such as would be required
by a person in the seafaring line, such as canvas
40 THE SINCLAIRS OF SCOTSCALDER.
The sinciairs of 1. Janet, eldest daughter, who married John M'Kay,
third of Strathy, and received a tocher of 6000
merks. The contract of marriage is dated 29th
April 1731, and is witnessed by Francis Sinclair
of Milton, William Sinclair, younger of Dun,
Benjamin Williamson of Banniskirk, and others.
She had two daughters, of whom Margaret married
Patrick Honyman of Graemsay ; and Barbara
married Major John Scobie of Melness.
II. JOHN SINCLAIR, THE SECOND OF SCOTSCALDER,
married Isabella, only daughter of John Sinclair, fourth of
Assery, by his second wife, Barbara Murray, daughter of
Patrick Murray of Penny land. On his marriage in 1731
his father conveyed to him, with consent of his eldest
son, Alexander, the lands of Scotscalder, Ulgrimbeg, and
Ulgrimore. He had two sons and four daughters :
1. Isabella, eldest daughter, was second wife of Captain
Thomas Dunbar of Westfield. She died in 1829,
and was interred in the chapel at Pennyland.
Captain Dunbar was the second son of Alexander
Dunbar of Grangehill, and he was the male
representative of that family, which is descended
from Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, son of
James, Earl of Moray. Captain Dunbar took
THE SINCLAIRS OF SCOTSCALDER. 41
the designation "of Westfield." He purchased The smciairs of
Milton now called Westfield and Sibster (for
Captain Dunbar's first marriage, vide Dunbar of
Hempriggs) ; and by his second wife, Isabella
Sinclair, he had two sons and three daughters :
James, who married a daughter of the Rev. Mr.
Cameron, Halkirk, and died without issue ; and
Alexander, who was tenant of Scrabster and other
Crgwn lands, and died unmarried in 1859 j 1 the
daughters were Isabella, Mrs. Robinson, who
left a daughter; Barbara, Mrs. Guthrie, who
had two sons, namely, the late Colonel Charles
Seton Guthrie of Scotscalder, and James Baillie
Guthrie ; and Catharine, Mrs. M'Gregor, who
2. Barbara, the second daughter of John Sinclair,
married William Sinclair of Rattar, tenth Earl
One of these two ladies was second wife of James
Sinclair of Holbornhead.
III. ROBERT SINCLAIR, THIRD AND LAST OF SCOTS-
CALDER, had an only son, Lieutenant- Colonel James
Sinclair of the Royal Artillery, and two daughters,
one of whom married Mr. Aitken, and had a son,
1 10th March 1859.
THE SINCLAIRS OF SCOTSCALDER.
The sinciairs of who died young ; while the other married Mr. Steel,
Scotscalder. rr -iii AI ^ -i i i
an excise onicer, and had issue. About 1812 he sold the
1 The original estate of Scotscalder to the Hurrays of Pennyland, who sub-
appears to have been at one time church sequently acquired the reversion, and
lands, and to have been feued out by
the Bishop of Caithness to the Caithness
family. By them it was first wadsetted
from them it came, as stated, into the
family of Sinclair of Hoy.
EGBERT SINCLAIR OF GEISE.
ROBERT SINCLAIR OF GEISE, Advocate, was fourth son Robert Sinclair
of James Sinclair of Lybster, and brother of William
Sinclair of Hoy and Scotscalder. He married Catharine
Ross, daughter of William Ross of Kindeace, and widow
of George M'Kay of Bighouse, and had a son and four
1. Katharine, who married John Sinclair of Assery.
2. Jean, who married James Sinclair of Holbornhead
and Forss. Vide Forss.
3. Barbara, who married Dr. William Sinclair, Physi-
cian in Thurso. Vide Freswick.
4. Mary, who married Patrick Doull of Oldfield,
merchant in Thurso. Their only child, who was
alive in 1780, was Alexander, then in the East
Indies, who died unmarried. He was an officer
in the navy or marines, and his ship and crew
were blown up.
Robert Sinclair died in 1742, and his wife about 1757.
She retained the name of " Lady Bighouse," and resided
latterly in Trantlemore, in Sutherlandshire, where she
THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND
TheSinclairsof j glR J OHN SINCLAIR, KNIGHT, the first of this
family, was third son of John, Master of Caithness, and
was styled of Greenland, but his descendants have been
designed of Rattar. He married Janet Sutherland, who
was probably of the Sutherlands of Forse, since his
nephew, Francis, son of his brother, James of Murkle,
married also a lady of that family. From his brother
George, the fifth Earl, he obtained, in 1609, 1 the feu
farms of the lands of Rattar and others, by charter to
himself in liferent and to his son, William, in fee ; and in
1613 he got a disposition from the Earl of the lands
of Rattar, Corsbach, Lieurary, Reaster, Murrsay, and
Hailand, which are described to be pertinents of the
Barony of Achergill, sometime pertaining to George,
Earl Marischal, and William, Lord Keith, his son, and
acquired by the Earl from them. In 1612 he occupied
the Castle of Ormlie, near Thurso. He died in 1622,
and had five sons and a daughter. 2
1. William, who died before his father. Of him Sir
1 26th January and 16th May 1609. 2 Peerage case.
THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR. 45
Robert Gordon writes : " This year of God, 1620, The sinciairs of
the eldest son of Sir John Sinclair of Greenland
perished in the water of Risgill, as he was riding
that river in a great speat and storm of weather.
He was a young gentleman of good expectation."
This event must have occurred earlier than 1620,
for in 1618 his immediate younger brother, Alex-
ander, obtained a precept as his heir.
2. Alexander, who in 1618 obtained from his uncle,
Earl George, a precept of dare as heir to
William. He died without issue.
3. John, who obtained in 1623 a precept of dare as
heir to Alexander. He also died without issue,
and was succeeded by
4. James of Eeaster, who obtained a precept on 16th
December 1634, and was afterwards of Rattar.
5. Francis, who died without issue.
There is mention of a son, Thomas, as alive about
1630, but there is no trace of any of his descendants.
1. Elizabeth, Sir John's only daughter, married John
Cunningham of Geise and Brownhill. In Novem-
ber 1630, her brother, James, borrowed from Sir
John Sinclair of Geanies and Dunbeath 3000 "for
payment of his sister Elizabeth's tocher to John
Cunningham of Geise, her spouse." In Douglas's
accounts of the Cunninghams there is much con-
fusion and error as to this lady and her marriage.
Sir John had a natural son, George, mentioned in a
46 THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND AND R ATTAR.
The sinciairs of sasine in favour of his brother, Alexander, in 1619, but
Greenland and / -, . -, r , i
Eattar. <M him we have no further account.
II. JAMES SINCLAIR OF EEASTER AND OF EATTAR/
married Janet, daughter of William Bruce of Stanstill,
and had two sons, and, so far as has been ascertained, three
1. William, his successor.
2. John, who died without issue.
In an assignation dated 14th December 1636, by
James Sinclair, to his eldest son, William, whom failing,
to his second son, John, he assigns a reversion of Eattar,
in consideration of certain payments by " Janet Murray,
Ladie of Stanstill, my mother-in-law."
1. Janet, eldest daughter, who married Walter Bruce
of Hain. 2
2. Margaret, who married in 1655 John Smith, son
of William Smith, Minister of Dunnet from
1614 to 1652.
3. Elizabeth or Elspeth, who married about 1652,
William Bruce of Stanstill. 3
1 1634. marriage. William Smith of Dunnet
2 Contract of Marriage, 20th Decem- and William Smyth of Watten were
her 1642. different persons ; and the writer in
3 In June 1864, it was stated in a "Notes and Queries" has probably
notice in " Notes and Queries " that mistaken the connection of the Smiths
William Smyth, minister of Dunottar, with the family of Rattar. William
afterwards of Bower and Watten, mar- Smyth was a rather remarkable man in
ried a daughter of James Sinclair of his time, and notices of him will be
Rattar, and had a son, George ; but no found in M 'Kay's " History " and in
evidence has been found of any such " Fasti Eccles. Scot."
THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR. 47
III. WILLIAM SINCLAIR, THIRD OF RATTAR, acquired The sinciairs of
the lands of Freswick in 1661, from Mowat of Buquhollie *
and his son, Magnus. 1 He married, first, in 1642, when
in apparency only, Elizabeth, daughter of John Sinclair,
first of Ulbster; and, second, in 1647, 2 Jean, daughter of
John Cunningham of Geise and Brownhill, and relict of
Alexander Sinclair of Latheron. John Cunningham, it
has been seen, had for his second wife Elizabeth, aunt
of Willianj Sinclair of Eattar ; but it is thought that his
daughter, Jean, was not Rattar's cousin-german, but was
the daughter of John Cunningham by his first marriage.
Jean Cunningham was long famous in the locality under
the name of " Jeanag of Rattar."
By his first marriage William Sinclair had John, his
successor in Rattar. 3
By his second wife he had three sons and two
1. James of Freswick, said to have died in France,
having been taken prisoner when on his way
to Edinburgh to be married. In Chambers's
"Domestic Annals" (vol. iii. p. 25, anno 1690) it
is stated that having made his case known to
the Scottish Privy Council, he was released in
exchange for Mr. David Fairfoul, a priest detained
in prison at Inverness.
1 Contract of Marriage, 24th March. 4 Disposition by their father, 30th
March 1650. Crown Charter, 30th
* Contract of Marriage, 12th August. ^ ^ in fayour rf Jean C
3 Last Will, 1663. ham and her three sons.
48 THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR.
The Sinclairs of 2. Robert.
Rattai- a 3. David, who succeeded to Freswick on the death of
1. Janet, eldest daughter, who married John Sinclair
of Ulbster, son of Patrick Sinclair. 2
2. Anne, who married, first, Robert Sinclair of Durran,
and, second, John Campbell of Castlehill, Com-
missary and Sheriff-clerk of Caithness. 3
IV. JOHN SINCLAIR, FOURTH OF RATTAR, married
Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Sinclair of Mey, and
had two sons and four daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. William, who, on the death in 1712 of his uncle,
David of Freswick, succeeded to that estate.
1. Barbara, eldest daughter, who married John
Sinclair of Forss. By their descendant, William
Sinclair Thomson Sinclair, Esq., the estates of
Freswick are now possessed under an entail
executed in 1775 by John Sinclair, then of
2. Frances, who married James Sinclair of Latheron.
3. Margaret, who married, first, Alexander Sinclair of
Brabster, and, second, Alexander Gibson, Minister
of Canisbay. Vide Brabster and Gibson.
4. Katharine, who married George Mansonof Bridgend.
1 Retour, 1696, of David to James 2 Retour, June 1712.
and Robert. 3 Retour, 20th January 1713.
THE SINCLATRS OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR. 49
V. JOHN SINCLAIR, FIFTH OF RATTAR, married Janet, The sinciairs of
daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Southdun, and died in Rattar.
1733. 1 He had two sons :
1. John, who died unmarried in minority.
2. William, who succeeded his father.
William was a minor at his father's death, and the
estate was taken charge of by his uncle, William of Fres-
wick. His mother also claimed the management, and,
pending the dispute, " lodged in the garret while Fres-
wick occupied the other parts of the house of Rattar/'
The widow afterwards married one Dun, a stay-maker
VI. WILLIAM SINCLAIR, SIXTH OF RATTAR, married
Barbara, daughter of John Sinclair of Scotscalder, and
died in 1779. 2 In 1772 his claim to the dignity of Earl
of Caithness was sustained by the Committee of Privi-
leges. He had five sons and two daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. William, an officer in the army, who died in
3. James. 4. Alexander. 5. David.
These died young and unmarried.
1. The eldest daughter, Lady Isabella, died un-
2, Lady Janet, married to James Traill of Rattar, and
had issue. Vide Traills.
1 Retour, 1719. 2 Retour, March 1773.
50 THE SINCLAIRS OF GREENLAND AND RATTAR.
The Sinclairs of VII. JOHN SINCLAIR, SEVENTH AND LAST OF RATTAR,
Rattar. succeeded his father in 1779, and was the eleventh Earl
In 1772 he entered the army as an Ensign in the 17th
Foot, and became Major in the 76th Foot in 1777. 1 He
served for some years in America, and was wounded at
the siege of Charlestown. In 1783 he attained the rank
of Lieutenant-Colonel. He died unmarried in 1789, and
was at the time of his death the last male representative
of the family of Greenland and Rattar.
1 Scottish Nation.
THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK.
I. WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF RATTAR, grandson
Sir John Sinclair of Greenland and Rattar, was the Fl
first "Sinclair of Freswick," that estate having been
acquired by him, in 1661, from Mowat of Buquhollie,
and his son, Magnus of Freswick. By his second
marriage (vide Rattar) he had three sons and two
1. James, eldest son.
1. Janet, the eldest daughter, who married John
Sinclair of Ulbster. 1
2. Anne, who married in 1678 Robert Sinclair of
The sons were all named in the disposition to their
father to the lands of Freswick dated 10th and
20th July 1661.
II. JAMES SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK obtained a Crown
charter, on 30th April 1672, in favour of his mother in
1 Retours 1712-1713.
52 THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK.
The sinciairs of liferent, and himself and his brothers in succession in fee.
He died before 1696 without issue.
The arms of the family, 1 as recorded by James Sinclair
in the Lyon Register, are : Quarterly first azure, a ship
at anchor, with Oars in Saltier, within a double treasure-
counter-flowered or; second or, a lion rampant gules;
third as the second ; and the fourth azure, a ship under
sail or, and, over all, dividing the quarters, a cross en-
grailed sable, all within a bordure cheque or and gules ;
Crest, a cross pattee, within a circle of stars argent.
Motto, Via crucis via lucis.
III. ROBERT SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK succeeded his
brother James, and, dying unmarried, was succeeded by
his brother David.
IV. DAVID SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK was twice married,
first, to Barbara, daughter of Sir William Sinclair of Mey, 2
and secondly to Sophia, daughter of Sir William Stewart
of Burray. 3 He had no issue by either marriage. In
April 1712 he executed an entail or destination of the
estate in favour of his nephew, William, second son of his
half-brother, John Sinclair of Rattar, the destination
being, failing his own heirs male or female, "in favour
of William Sinclair, second son of John Sinclair of Rattar,
and the heirs-male of his body, whom failing, to John
1 Nisbet. 2 Contract of Marriage, 9th April 1695.
3 Contract of Marriage, 25th June 1702.
THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK. 53
Sinclair of Durran, my sister's son, and the heirs-male of The sinciairs of
his body ; whom failing, to return to the heirs-male of the
family of Eattar, my father's family." In 1 7 1 2 and 1 7 1 3 ,
his sisters, Janet and Anne, were served heirs to him, and
some legal proceedings touching the succession took place,
but were ultimately abandoned. Mrs. Janet Sinclair,
then relict of John Sinclair of Ulbster, executed in 1712
a deed from which the following is an extract : " Out
of the respect I have to the family of Ratter, being my
father's family, and for supporting not only thereof, but
also of my brother's family of Freswick, and his memory,
condescended and agreed with the said William Sinclair
that I should ratify the foresaid disposition and right,
and denude myself of all title and right I have to the
V. WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK, second son of
John Sinclair of Rattar, and grandson of William Sinclair
of Rattar by his first marriage, added to the family estates
by the purchase of the wadsets of Dunnet and Greenland,
held by Murray of Clairden, and of the reversion of these
estates held by Sir James Sinclair of Dunbeath, and in
1751 he purchased Dunbeath from Sir William Sinclair
of Keiss and James Sinclair of Latheron for 3000 ster-
ling, and the lands of Warse and others in Canisbay from
the Groat family. The House of Freswick was built by
him about middle of last century. In 1778 James
Sinclair, son of James Sinclair of Latheron, who sold
54 THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK.
The sinciairs of Dunbeath, attempted to set aside the sale, but after
many years' litigation the action of reduction raised
against Fres wick's son and successor failed.
William Sinclair of Freswick was a gentleman of
ability and of considerable local note, while his personal
appearance is stated to have been dignified and imposing.
As leader of one of the two political parties into which
the county was in his time divided (Sir William Dunbar
of Hempriggs leading the other), he was an influential
county gentleman. If vindictive and somewhat unscrupu-
lous towards his enemies and opponents, as they alleged,
he was a warm, and, on many occasions, a generous and
considerate friend. He was eager in the promotion of
his own interests, and his acquisition of a considerable
estate from moderate beginnings, and the political and
family animosities prevalent in the times in which he
lived, account, to some extent, for the rather unfavour-
able traditionary character he bears.
He married Katharine, daughter of George Sutherland
of Forse, and he died in 1769. 1 He had a son and two
1. John, his successor.
1. Elizabeth, eldest daughter, married, when some-
what advanced in life, George Bean, a Writer
2. Jean, married Alexander Sinclair of Barrock, and was
grandmother of Sir John Sinclair, late of Barrock.
1 Peerage case, 4th July 1769.
THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK. 55
VI. JOHN SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK, Advocate, was The sinciairs of
Sheriff of the county, and was twice married. His first Freswick -
wife was Margaret, daughter of Sir John Dalrymple of
Cousland, and a lady to whom he appears to have been
much attached, although for some reason, now unknown,
his father was much opposed to the marriage. By
her he had a son and a daughter :
1. William, who was a Lieutenant in the 78th
Regiment, in 1778. He predeceased his father
without issue, and appears to have given him
much trouble and distress from his extravagant
1. Kitty, who also died before her father, in her
By his second wife, Margaret, daughter of James
Moray of Abercairney, who survived him, he had no issue.
In the contested county election, in 1754, John
Sinclair was invited by the Brodie party to stand as a
candidate, but he declined, and supported General Scott,
who was returned.
He died and was buried at Bath, in 1784, and was
the last surviving collateral heir-male of the Rattar
branch of the Caithness family, so that on the death
of John, Earl of Caithness, in 1789, the succession to
the earldom devolved on Sir James Sinclair of Mey,
in default of heirs-male of the Greenland and Rattar
In reference to the settlement of the Freswick estates,
56 THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK.
The sinciairs of he wrote, in 1782, to his second cousin, Dr. William
Sinclair of Lochend, afterwards of Freswick : "I look on
my grandfather (John Sinclair of Rattar) as the head of
my family ; from his descendants I never will give away
what my father left me, but of these I will choose him I
think the most worthy. A cousin or a nephew are equal
with me in the scale. Whoever merits most will be pre-
ferable." Accordingly, on 30th May 1775, he executed a
strict entail of the estates, in the destination of which he
preferred the descendants of his paternal aunt, Barbara,
daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar, and two of the
younger sons of William, tenth Earl of Caithness, great-
grandsons of John of Rattar, to the children of his sister,
Mrs. Sinclair of Barrock, his nephew, William, the
second son of Barrock, being the last named substitute of
entail. The estates were settled (1st), on the heirs-male
and female of his own body ; (2d), on Robert Sinclair,
eldest grandson of his aunt, Barbara, and her husband,
John Sinclair of Forss ; (3d), on Dr. William Sinclair,
another grandson of Barbara Sinclair and John Sinclair of
Forss ; (4th and 5th), on his cousins, William and James,
younger sons of William Sinclair of Rattar, tenth Earl of
Caithness ; and (lastly), on his nephew, William Sinclair,
Writer to the Signet, the second son of Alexander Sin-
clair of Barrock, by his sister, Jean. This settlement of
the estates was the cause of great dissatisfaction to his
sisters, who, in a process of reduction in 1789 for setting
it aside, complained of the entail as " disinheriting them
THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK. 57
and preferring a person who, although a relation of the The Sinclair of
family, was not even the nearest heir-male."
John Sinclair is described as a man of quick parts,
but proud and extravagant, and inattentive to his affairs.
VII. EGBERT SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK, eldest son of
James Sinclair of Holburnhead, and afterwards of Forss,
succeeded in 1784, and died at Dunbeath Castle, without
issue, in November 1794. 1 He married Esther Bland, said
to have been an actress, and to have been the sister, or
near relative, of the celebrated Mrs. Jordan.
VIII. WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF LOCHEND, which estate
he acquired by purchase, in 1778, for 2015, was grand-
son of John Sinclair of Forss, and Barbara Sinclair, and
succeeded his cousin-german, Robert Sinclair of Freswick,
in 1794. He was a Doctor of Medicine, and practised
for many years in Thurso, and the county generally, before
succeeding to the estates. He acquired Thura by pur-
chase in 1801. He was twice married ; and died on 15th
March 1838, aged 90.
By his first wife, Isabella, daughter of Alexander
Calder, last laird of Lynegar, who died in 1812, he had
1. John, who died unmarried in 1832 in the twenty-
second year of his age.
1. Barbara Madelina Gordon, the late Mrs. Thomson
Sinclair of Freswick, twin sister of John.
1 Retour 6th October.
58 THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK.
The sinciairs of 2. Isabella, who married Mr. Thomas Cochrane Hume
of Halifax, North America, 1 and had a son,
William Sinclair Hume, who died 9th October
1859, in early life, and two daughters; of whom
one died young, and the other, Isabella Barbara,
married Captain John Hobhouse Inglis Alexander
of Southbar, R.N., and has issue.
In 1 8 1 6 William Sinclair married, secondly, his cousin,
Jane, daughter of John Sinclair of Barrock, by whom he
had a son and three daughters :
1. William James John Alexander, his successor.
1. Williamina, who died young.
2. Janet Sinclair Traill, who died in June 1870, at
3. Jane, who married Major-General Augustus Halifax
Ferryman, and died in 1851, leaving one child,
Augustus Hamilton Ferryman, now of Lochend
IX. WILLIAM JAMES JOHN ALEXANDER SINCLAIR
OF FRESWICK succeeded his father in 1838, while yet in
minority. He served for a short time in the Army, and
died unmarried at Nottingham House, on 20th February
1855, in the thirty-second year of his age, and was suc-
ceeded by his half-sister, Barbara. He possessed good
natural abilities, and but for his delicate health would,
had his life been prolonged, have taken a lead in the
1 On 28th January 1840.
THE SINCLAIRS OF FRESWICK. 59
county. In 1847 he issued an address to the Electors The sinciairs of
of Caithness, offering to represent the county in Parlia-
ment on Conservative principles, but he did not go
to the poll.
X. MRS. BARBARA MADELINA GORDON THOMSON
SINCLAIR OF FRESWICK married William Thomson, Esq.,
Deputy Commissary-General of the Forces, and had an
only child, ^illiam Sinclair Thomson Sinclair.
XL WILLIAM SINCLAIR THOMSON SINCLAIR, NOW OF
FRESWICK, was born 8th April 1844, married on 18th June
1872 Isabella, eldest daughter of James Henderson, Esq.
of Bilbster, and in 1876 succeeded to the family estates
on the death of his mother.
THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY.
The sinciairs of I. WILLIAM SiNCLAiE, second son of George, fourth
Earl of Caithness, obtained a charter in March 1572 from
his father, of the lands of Mey, and was thus the first
laird of Mej. He died unmarried.
II. GEORGE SINCLAIR, SECOND OF MEY, succeeded his
brother, William, and in 1573 got a precept of dare
constat from Robert, Bishop of Caithness. In 1585 and
1592 he obtained Crown charters. In 1572 the Bishop
appointed him Chancellor of the diocese of Caithness.
He was a man of ability, who lost no opportunity of pro-
moting his family interests, and considerable additions to
the family estates were made by him.
Before 1583 he married Margaret, daughter of
William, seventh Lord Forbes, and he died in 1616.
He had four sons and five daughters :
1. William, his heir.
2. Sir John, of Geanies and Dunbeath.
3. James, who died young.
4. Alexander of Latheron, ancestor of the Sinciairs of
Barrock and Brabster.
1. Janet, eldest daughter, who married Walter Innes
THE'SINCLAIRS OF MEY. 61
2. Margaret, who married, in 1608, Alexander Sinclair The smciairs of
of Fores. Mey '
3. Barbara, who married Alexander Keith of Pitten-
drum, in 1610.
4. Elizabeth, who married William Dunbar, first of
Hempriggs in Morayshire, and grandfather of Sir
William Dunbar of Hempriggs, etc., in Caithness.
III. SIR WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF MEY was created a
knight, 1 and was styled Sir William of Cadboll. In 1600
he married Katharine, second daughter of George Boss of
Balnagown, and was succeeded by his son, Sir James.
It has been supposed that Sir William was created a
baronet, but this is doubtful ; and in the Great Seal
charters of 1623 and 1636 he is mentioned as " Miles"
In 1595 a mutiny broke out among the scholars and
gentlemen's sons attending the High School of Edin-
burgh, arising from a dispute with the magistrates as to
.their vacation. They laid in provisions in the school-
room, manned the same, and took in arms with powder
and bullets ; and refused all entrance to masters or
magistrates until their claims were conceded. After a
day passed in this manner, the Council resolved on
strong measures, and a posse of officers, headed by Bailie
John Macmoran, proceeded to the school, and failing to
1 Charters 1C23, 1636.
62 THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY.
The sinciairs of persuade the scholars to surrender, attempted to prize
open the doors. The scholars, finding no attention paid
to their threats, to " put a pair of bullets through the
best of their cheeks," unless they desisted, " one Sinclair,
the Chancellor of Caithness' son, presented a gun from a
window, direct opposite to the bailies' faces, boasting them
and calling them buttery carles. Off goeth the charged
gun, pierced John Macmoran through his head, and pre-
sently killed him, so that he fell backward straight to
the ground without speech at all." The culprit was Wil-
liam, afterwards Sir William Sinclair of Mey ; but in the
end he and seven other youths implicated got clear off. 1
The following description of Barrogill Castle, at this
period, is taken from a poem dedicated to the Earl of
Caithness and Sir William St. Clair of Cadboll :
" Sir, sighting now thyself and palace faire,
I find a novelty, and that most rare ;
The time though cold and stormie, sharper sun,
And far to summer, scarce the spring begun,
Yet with good luck in Februar, Saturn's prey
Have I not sought and found out fruitful May
Flank'd with the marine coast prospective stands
Right opposit to the Orcade Isles and lands,
Where I, for flowers, engorged strong grapes of Spain,
And liquor'd French, both red and white amaine.
Which palace doth contain, two four-squared courts
Graft with brave works, where th' art drawn pensile spourts
On halls, high chambers, galleries, office bowers,
Cells, rooms, and turrets, platforms, stately towers."
1 Chambers's " Domestic Annals," vol. i. pp. 263, 2C2.
THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY. 63
IV. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR was styled, in his father's The sinciairs of
lifetime, of Canisbay, as appears from a tack of teinds,
dated 14th June 1635, by Sir William and Sir James,
and from a Crown charter in favour of both, dated 17th
February 1636. As before stated, it is doubtful whether
his father was more than a mere knight, and if Sir James
was so called in his father's lifetime there must have been
a separate creation. His uncle, Sir John of Geanies and
Dunbeath, to whose baronetcy he is supposed to have
succeeded, was alive long after 1636, but if Sir James
was so styled in the lifetime of his father and uncle,
he may have been merely knighted, and may still have
afterwards taken up his uncle's baronetcy. 1 Sir James
married Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick, Lord Lindores,
and died in 1662. He had five sons and two daughters :
1. John, 2 who died young.
2. William, his successor.
3. Robert of Durran. (Vide Durran.)
4. James 2 of Stangergill, who died without issue.
5 . George of Olrig. ( Vide Olrig. )
1. Anne, eldest daughter, who married George, first
Earl of CromaTty.
1 [Sir James Sinclair of Canisbay was Ham and Robert : his property, on his
created a Baronet June 2, 1631, with death s.p., was inherited by Robert,
remainder "hseredibus suis masculis et In 1645 Sir James granted a bond over
assignatis quibuscunque." The precept Stangergill to John, his "second son."
for the patent is on record.] In a discharge, dated 1667, Sir William
2 [This John and James seem to have enumerates his younger brothers as
been really one person, namely, John, of John, Robert, and George.]
Stangergill, intermediate between Wil-
64 THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY.
The sinciairs of 2. Elizabeth, who married her cousin, William Sin-
clair of Dunbeath.
V. SIR WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF CANISBAY AND MEY
was infeft in Mey in 1 662 as heir to his father, on a precept
of dare constat by the Bishop of Caithness. He married
Margaret, second daughter of George, second Earl of
Seaforth, and had two sons and three daughters :
1. Sir James, his heir.
1. Elizabeth, eldest daughter, who married John
Sinclair of Eattar.
2. Barbara, who married David Sinclair of Freswick.
The estate was so involved in debt by Sir William
that it was, after his death, judicially sold by his creditors
VI. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR OF MEY married first,
Frances, daughter of Sir John Towers of that Ilk and
of Inverleith ; 1 and, secondly, Jean, daughter of Francis
Sinclair of Northfield, second son of George, fifth Earl
The estates having been judicially sold for the debts
of Sir James's father, they were purchased by his cousin,
Viscount Tarbet, afterwards Earl of Cromarty, who had
1 [This first marriage is given on formacus, who married the daughter
Douglas's authority. It was Sir James's and heir of Sir John Towers of Inver-
contemporary, Sir John Sinclair of Long- leith.]
THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY. 65
married his aunt, and in 1698 Lord Tarbet reconveyed The smciaiw of
them to the family by a disposition and deed of entail, Mey '
" animo donandi" in favour of James, eldest son of Sir
James Sinclair, and other heirs.
By his first marriage Sir James Sinclair had a son and
a daughter :
Sir James, his heir.
Barbara, who married Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke,
Sir James had also a natural son, John, who held a
wadset of Hollandmake, conveyed to him by his father.
VII. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR OF MEY, third of the name,
married Mary, daughter of James, Lord Duffus, and had
three sons and a daughter :
1. Sir James. 2. William. 3. Kenneth. 1. Margaret.
VIII. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR, fourth of the name,
obtained a Crown charter in 17 40, l and married Margaret,
daughter of John Sinclair of Barrock, by whom he had
two sons :
1. Sir John.
2. William, who married Elizabeth, daughter of
Richard Sinclair, merchant in Thurso, second
son of Alexander Sinclair, last laird of Dun. He
had a son, John, captain in the 79th Foot, who
was killed at Waterloo, and a daughter, Wil-
liamina, who died unmarried. It is thought he
had a second daughter, who was married.
1 Retour, 10th February 1740.
66 THE SINCLAIRS OF MEY.
The Sinclairs of JX. SlR JOHN SINCLAIR OF MEY was Served heir of
taillie and provision in 1763, and married Charlotte,
second daughter of Eric, Lord Duffus, by whom he had a
son and a daughter :
Margaret, who married the Reverend William Leslie,
of Darkland, by whom she had a son and seven
daughters, viz., Archibald, who married, and left
issue ; Charlotte, who married Arthur Geddes,
and had issue ; Anne, who married Charles
Black, and had issue ; Elizabeth, who married
Captain Van Early, and had issue ; Isabella, who
married James Imlach, and had issue ; Jessie or
Janet, who married Colonel Peter Dunbar, and
had issue ; Mary, who married Patrick Cameron,
and had issue ; and Helen, who married Peter
Brown of Linkwood, and had issue.
X. SIR JAMES SINCLAIR OF MEY, eighth baronet, and
ninth in descent from George of Mey, Chancellor of
Caithness, was served heir to his father in 1785 ; and on
the death of John, eleventh Earl of Caithness, he was
served in May 1790, as nearest and lawful heir-male of
William St. Clair, second Earl of Caithness of the line
of St. Clair, and thereafter took the dignity of Earl of
Caithness. Vide Earls of Caithness.
THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER.
THE ancestor of this family was William Sinclair, first The sinciairs of
laird of Mey, the second son of George, fourth Earl of
Caithness, who granted him the lands of Mey in. 1572.
His elder brother, John, Master of Caithness, having, with
his connivance, been imprisoned by his father in Girnigo
Castle, he was, on the occasion of a visit to the dungeon
of the Master, laid hold of and strangled by him. This
event took place in 1572 or 1573, for in the latter year
his brother, George, got a precept of dare constat as his
heir. By Margaret, daughter of James Mowat of Buchollie
and Lucy Gordon, daughter of Gordon of Gight, he left
two sons, Patrick and John. In the Great Seal Record,
Edinburgh, Lib. 45, No. 18, there occurs a legitimation,
dated 20th June 1607, " Patricio et Magistro Joanni
Sinclair filiis naturalibus quondam Willelmi Sinclair de
Mey." Further notices of the family are to be found in
" Stewartiana," 1843, by Mr. John Eiddell, Advocate ; in
"The Gentleman's Magazine," vol. xx. p. 260; and in
Father Hay's account of the St. Glairs of Roslyn, printed
68 THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER.
The Sinclairs of I. PATRICK SINCLAIR. FIRST OF ULBSTER, got a dis-
Ulbster. . &
position of these lands in 1596 from his cousin, George,
fifth Earl of Caithness, and, dying without issue, he was
succeeded by his brother, John.
II. JOHN SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER was a man of education
and ability, and as his name is seldom mentioned without
the prefix of Mr. or " Maister," there is ground for think-
ing that he was brought up as a pedagogue or teacher,
although it was not unusual to designate as " Maister "
gentlemen of landed property, as well as pedagogues,
preachers, notaries, and the like. In 1601 the General
Assembly arranged that certain ministers should plant
themselves in the families of the Catholic nobles ; and
Lord Gordon, eldest son of the Marquis of Huntly, and
the Master of Caithness, eldest son of the Earl, " were
brought up together under the care of two pedagogues,
Thomas Gordon and John Sinclair, who were compelled
to declare themselves adherents of the reformed faith."
That John Sinclair, the pedagogue, was John Sinclair,
afterwards Mr. John Sinclair of Ulbster, seems to admit
of no doubt, for we find by a letter from him to his uncle,
George of Mey, that, in 1604, he and the Master lived
in the family of the Marquis of Huntly at Bogg Gight ;
and in regard to the Master he writes : " always the
Mr. is verie weill, God be praysit, and commends him
heartily to you." l
1 "Domestic Annals of Scotland."
THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER. 69
John Sinclair was twice married first, to Jean The Smciairs of
Chisholm, who is no doubt the " Kesolme, daughter to
the laird of Stra glass," who is said by Hay to have
married the first laird of Ulbster; and, secondly, to
Katharine Stewart. By his first wife he had two sons
and a daughter :
1. Patrick, his successor.
2. George, a merchant in Leith.
1. Henrietta, who married William Abernethy (son of
John, Bishop of Caithness), who was minister of
Halkirk in 1627, and of Thurso in 1636.
By his second wife John Sinclair had a son and two
1. John of Tannach and Brims, who served in the
German wars, and in 1660 purchased Brims from
the heirs of the first Sinclairs of Dunbeath. He
married Ann Goldman, and had three sons and
two daughters : John, afterwards of Ulbster ;
William of Thrumster 1 (who married Margaret,
daughter of James Innes of Thursater) ; and
Charles ; Jean, who married Francis Sinclair of
Dun, and afterwards David Sinclair of South-
dun ; and Elizabeth, who married William
Sinclair of Rattar.
John Sinclair of Tannach had two natural
1 William Sinclair of Thrumster their son, William, had Oust, which
seems also to have had Oust, for his he disponed in 1719 to John Sinclair
wife had it in liferent, but at all events of Brims.
70 THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER.
The sinciairs of sons, one of whom was James, probably James
Sinclair "in Lythmore," and the same James
Sinclair who, in 1702, obtained from his brother,
John of Ulbster and Brims, a wadset of Holborn-
head, Uttersquoy, and Sandiquoy.
III. PATRICK SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER was served heir
to his father, John, in 1640, and in 1647 he married Eliza-
beth, daughter of John M'Kay of Strathy and Dirlot.
He had two sons and seven daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. Sir George of Bilbster and Clyth, who married
Jean, daughter of William Sinclair of Dunbeath,
and had no issue. He had, however, three
natural daughters : Jean, who married William
Sinclair, younger of Thrumster, Mary, and
Patrick Sinclair's daughters were :
1. Anne, who married Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke.
2. Elizabeth, who married, in 1660, John Sinclair of
3. Mary, who married, in 1675, Sir Robert Dunbar
4. Isabel, who married, in 1673, George, eldest son
of James Sinclair of Assery.
5. Margaret, who married, in 1679, her cousin-german,
Hugh M'Kay of Cairnloch, son of John M'Kay
THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER. 71
6. Jean, who married Angus M'Kay, apparent of The sinciairs of
-P.. -. Ulbster.
7. Katharine, who married James Sinclair of Lyb-
In 1660 Patrick Sinclair and his son, John, purchased
from the Earl of Caithness, for 22,485 merks, or little
more than 1200 sterling, East and Mid Clyth, Roster,
and Tannach. In 1676 Lord Glenorchy granted a wadset
of West Clyth, and the rest of that estate, redeemable
for 15,465 merks, and in 1706 he disponed these lands
so wadsetted, and Swordale, Aimster, Carsgo, Gerston,
Achscoraclate, Stainland or Staneland, and fishings of
IV. JOHN SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER, married Janet,
daughter of William Sinclair of Rattar and his second
wife Jean Cunningham.
Having no family, John Sinclair settled the estates,
in 1709, by an entail, the first substitute called being his
cousin, John Sinclair of Brims, the eldest son of John of
Tannach and Brims, and the subsequent heirs being
Charles Sinclair of Bilbster, George M'Kay of Bighouse,
George Sinclair of Brabster, Patrick, his brother, John
Sinclair of Lybster, William, Robert, and George, his
brothers, John Sinclair of Assery, Patrick Dunbar of
Bowermadden, and his brothers, William, James, and
David, the whole substitutes, except John Sinclair of
Brims, being the descendants of his sisters.
72 THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER.
The Sinclairs of V. JOHN SINCLAIR OF BRIMS AND ULBSTER was twice
married, first to Jean, daughter of Munro of Culrain, and,
secondly, to Jean Cores. By his first marriage he had
four sons and three daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. Patrick of Brims. There is a tradition that he had
an intrigue with a daughter of James Sinclair
of Uttersquoy, who was probably the natural
brother of John Sinclair of Brims and Ulbster,
and that she having mysteriously disappeared,
was supposed to have been made away with by
Sinclair, and her body concealed in the castle,
which consequently had the reputation of being
haunted. Patrick left the county, and is said to
have enlisted in the Guards.
3. James of Holbornhead. This property was dis-
poned to him by his father,, and by him sold to
Robert Sinclair of Geise.
4. Gustavus,- a merchant in Leith.
1. Sidney, eldest daughter.
2. Jean or Janet, who married, first, Benjamin D unbar,
younger of Hempriggs ; and, secondly, George,
third Lord Reay.
3. Elizabeth, who married John M'Kay, second of
VI. JOHN SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER, sometime younger
of Brims, married Henrietta, daughter of George Brodie
THE SINCLAIRS OF ULBSTER. 73
of Brodie, and died in 1736. He had three sons and a The smoiairs of
-, -, , Ulbster.
1. George, his successor.
2. James of Harpsdale, who married, first, Marjory,
daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun, by whom
he had two daughters, Henrietta of Southdun,
and Janet, who married Colonel Williamson of
Banniskirk. His second wife was Mally Suther-
land, Spinningdale, by whom he had a son,
Alexander, who died young. His third wife
was Katharine, daughter of Alexander Sinclair
of Lybster, by whom he had two daughters,
Katharine, who married Major George William-
son, and Helen, who married Captain David
Brodie of Hopeville (Sibster).
3. Captain John Sinclair, in " Burke," called Major
John, who married Elizabeth, widow of John
1. JEmelia, only daughter, married John Sutherland
VII. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER married Janet,
daughter of Lord Strathnaver. He died in 1776, and
left a son and three daughters :
1. John, his successor.
1. Helen, eldest daughter, who married Alexander
Campbell of Barcaldine, whose daughter, Jane,
married James, Earl of Caithness, in 1784.
74 THE SINCLAIRS OP ULBSTER.
The sinciairs of 2. Mary, who married James Homerigg of Gamalshiels.
3. Janet, who married William Baillie of Polkemmet,
Lord Polkemmet of the Court of Session.
VIII. SIR JOHN SINCLAIR OF ULBSTER was born in
1754, and was created baronet in 1788, with remainder,
in default of male issue, to the male issue of his daughters.
He married, first, in 1776, Sarah, daughter of Alexander
Maitland of Stoke Newington ; and, secondly, in 1788,
Diana, daughter of Alexander, first Lord Macdonald, and
had issue by both marriages. He was succeeded by his
son, of his second marriage, Sir George Sinclair.
THE SINCLAIES OF DUEEAN.
C ALDER mentions a " Sinclair of Durran" in 1621, The sinciairs of
who, having been ejected by the Bishop's Chamberlain
from lands which he occupied as tenant under the Earl
of Caithness, killed one Lindsay, to whom the lands had
been given. The Earl held church lands in feu, but had
been deprived of them, and as the lands of Durran seem,
in 1657 and 1659, to have belonged to the bishopric, it
is probable that they were the lands from which Sinclair
had been ejected ; and that he was styled of Durran as
the occupier only, or perhaps the wadsetter under the
Earl. Of what family this Sinclair of Durran was we
cannot say ; but he seems to have been " kinsman " to
Sir Andrew Sinclair, envoy for the King of Denmark, for
whose intervention he applied to obtain his pardon for
the murder of Lindsay. Of Sir Andrew's connection
with the county we have no account.
I. EGBERT SINCLAIR, third son of Sir James Sinclair
of Canisbay, and the great-grandson of George, fourth
Earl of Caithness, was styled of Durran ; but until 1717,
when Lord Glenorchy granted a disposition to John
76 THE SINCLAIRS OF DURRAN.
The sirciairs of Sinclair of Durran, of the lands of Durran, and of Stan-
gergill, Thurdistoft, and others, which now form part
of the Castlehill estate, the Durran estate was held in
wadset from the Earl of Caithness, by Sir William
Sinclair of Cadboll and Sir James of Canisbay.
Robert Sinclair married, 1 in 1678, Anne, youngest
daughter of William Sinclair of Rattar, afterwards
styled " Lady Harland," and had a son and two
1. John, his successor.
1. Anne, who was third wife of James Sutherland of
Langwell, and on his death married John Sinclair
II. JOHN SINCLAIR or DURRAN married Elizabeth,
eldest daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock, 2 by his
second wife, Elizabeth Murray. He died in 1728, and
had four sons and a daughter :
1. Robert, who died in 1725.
2. John, who died in 1727.
3. James, afterwards of Durran.
4. George, Major in the 65th Regiment, who died
1. Jean, who married her cousin-german, James
Sutherland of Swinzie. Vide Swinzie.
1 Contract of Marriage, March 1. 2 Douglas.
THE SINCLAIRS OF DURBAN. 77
III. JAMES SINCLAIR or DURRAN married, first, Eliza- The sinciairs of
beth, daughter of Sir Patrick Dunbar of Northfield, by Dumm '
his second wife, Katharine, daughter of Joseph Brodie of
Milntown. By this marriage Tister came into the family, 1
Sir Robert Dunbar having, in 1758, given a disposition
in favour of his daughter and husband in liferent, and to
the heirs of the marriage in fee. James Sinclair died in
1793, and had three sons and four daughters :
1. Patrick, his successor.
2. George, Writer to the Signet, who married in
1775 Elizabeth, daughter of John Sutherland of
Forse. He died in 1779, leaving a son, John
Sutherland, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal
Artillery, who was three times married, and died
in 1841. By his first marriage, to Miss Gamble,
Colonel Sinclair had two sons, George, W.S., who
died in 1834, and John, Lieutenant in the Royal
Artillery, who died in 1828, and a daughter;
all of whom died unmarried. By his second
marriage, to Miss Ramsay, he had two daughters,
and by his third marriage, to Euphemia, daughter
of Thomas Buchan of Auchmacoy, 2 he had several
children, of whom there are surviving James
Augustus and Charles Home.
3. Major Robert, 3 who died at Bombay, in 1793,
1 "Gentleman's Magazine." 2 Died December 1872.
3 " Gentleman's Magazine. "
78 THE SINCLAIRS OF DURBAN.
The smciairs of 1. Margaret, who married Patrick Honyman of
Durran. ' J
2. Katharine, who married Alexander, son of James
Robertson of Bishopmiln.
3. Elizabeth, who married William Eobertson of
James Sinclair married, secondly, Dorothea Bruce, by
whom he had an only child
John, who seems to have died young before 1789.
IV. PATRICK SINCLAIR OF DURRAN, Captain in Royal
Navy, died at St. Domingo in 1794, in command of the
Frigate " Iphigenia." He married Anne, daughter of
James Sinclair Sutherland of Swinzie, and had two sons
and a daughter :
1. Patrick, who died young and unmarried.
V. JAMES SINCLAIR OF DURRAN was a Lieutenant of
Marines. He was killed in action in 1801, at cutting
out the French Corvette "La Chev&rite," and was
succeeded by his sister, Katharine.
VI. KATHARINE SINCLAIR OF DURRAN married Cap-
tain John Worth of Oakley, R.N., and died in 1849,
leaving a daughter
THE SINCLAIES OF DURBAN. 79
Mary Katharine, who married, in 1834, Admiral Sir The Smciairs of
Baldwin Walker, Bart., K.C.B., etc., etc., who Burran>
died in 1876, and was succeeded by his eldest
son, Baldwin Walker, a Lieutenant in the Navy.
The estate of Durran was sold in 1827 by Mrs. Worth
to the late Alexander, thirteenth Earl of Caithness, for
15,000. The nearest existing respresentatives of the
family in the male line are the two sons of Colonel John
Sutherland Sinclair, namely, James Augustus and Charles
Home Sinclair, both of whom are married. The family
of Sinclair of Durran is next in succession to the earldom
of Caithness, on failure of heirs-male of the present Earl.
THE SINCLAIKS OF OLRIG.
The Smciairs of I. The first of the family of Sinclairs of Olrig was
George, fifth son of Sir James Sinclair of Canisbay. He
married Elizabeth, daughter of his relative, Alexander
Sinclair of Latheron, and widow of Walter Bruce of
Ham. He had a son, Alexander.
John, Master of Berriedale, granted a wadset of Olrig
to Sir William Sinclair of Mey, and his son, Sir James,
for 8000 merks, which the latter assigned as a provision
to his son, George ; and in 1708 Lord Glenorchy sold the
property to Alexander Sinclair, then of Olrig, for 12,900
merks, or about 650 sterling, "reserving the swans and
swans' nests on the Loch of Durran."
II. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF OLRIG married Katha-
rine, daughter of Donald Budge of Toftingall, and was
killed in a duel, in 1710, by William Innes of Sandside.
He had four sons and three daughters :
1. Donald, his successor.
2. James, who was in Duncansbay and Warse in
1739-1747, and who was also a merchant in
THE SINCLAIRS OF OLRIG. 81
3. Alexander. The Sinclairs of
1. Elizabeth, who married Charles Sinclair of Bilbster.
2. Esther, who married John Sinclair of Forss.
3. Katharine, who married William Budge of Toftin-
gall, W.S. William Budge married a Katharine
Sinclair, and in 1741 James Sinclair, Tacksman
of Warse, and son of Alexander Sinclair of Olrig,
is mentioned as "brother-in-law" of William
Esther and Katharine Sinclair were both alive and
widows in 1767. (Proof in Rattar's Peerage case.)
III. DONALD SINCLAIR OF OLRIG AND BILBSTER mar-
ried Fenella, only daughter and heiress of Charles Sinclair
of Bilbster, and had a son and a daughter :
1. Charles, his successor.
1. Henrietta, who is mentioned in 1786 as relict of
Captain Benjamin Moodie.
IV. CHARLES SINCLAIR OF OLRIG married Elizabeth,
daughter of Eric, Lord Duifus, and Elizabeth Dunbar,
daughter of Sir James and Dame Elizabeth Dunbar of
Hempriggs. He had a son and three daughters :
1. Donald, his successor.
82 THE SINCLAIRS OF OLRIG.
The Sinclairs of V. DONALD SINCLAIR OF OLRIG died without issue,
and was succeeded by his sister, Fenella.
VI. MRS. FENELLA SINCLAIR OF OLRIG married
Archibald Cullen, Barrister-at-Law, and had two sons
and four daughters :
1. William, Major- General in the Madras army.
2. David, who died young.
These three daughters died young.
4. Marion Robina, who married Edward Marjoribanks,
The lands of Olrig and Bilbster were sold by Mrs.
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH
I. ABOTJT 1624 Dunbeath was purchased by Sir John The sinciairs of
Sinclair of Geanies, second son of George Sinclair of Mey, Latheron.
from Lord Forbes, to whom it had been disponed by
George Sinclair, the last of the first family of the Sinclairs
of Dunbeath. Sir John Sinclair had made a fortune as a
merchant, and he had acquired possessions in Ross-shire,
as well as Dunbeath, Stemster, and Brabster-myre in
In 1631 he was created a knight baronet 1 by patent
to him and the " heirs-male of his body," according to
Douglas, but by Wood's Peerage the title was to his
"heirs-male whatsoever." It has been supposed that
this is the original baronetcy still in the Mey family,
and which was taken up by his nephew, Sir James Sin-
clair of Mey, the son of his immediate elder brother,
William. If this has not been the case, and that the
baronetcy was limited to heirs-male of his body, it is
1 [This Sir John was only a knight. As to the Mey baronetcy, see p. 63,
84 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON.
The sinciah-s of Sir John was twice married. His second wife, as
Dunbeath and P . . , . , . , , ., , . ,
Latheron. appears from an inscription in the family burymg-place
at Latheron, was Christian, daughter of Magnus Mowat
of Buchollie. He had no sons, and of his three daughters,
the second and third were of his second marriage, but
of which marriage the other was is uncertain. 2 The
1. Margaret, who married Hugh Rose of Kilra-
2. Gemma, who died young.
3. Christian, who died unmarried.
On his daughter, Margaret, Sir John settled 50,000
merks and lands in Ross-shire ; the remainder of his
property he distributed among the sons of his brother,
Alexander Sinclair of Latheron.
Alexander Sinclair was wadsetter of Latheron, of
which he got a charter in 1635, but his descendants
acquired the reversion, and held the lands in fee, and he
1 The inscription referred to is much early life, the other in old age. Their
obliterated, but the following seems to mother was the second wife of the
be a probable rendering of the original Knight of Dunbeath. There might
Latin: "John Sinclair of Dunbeath, have been a more abundant list of the
crowned knight, erected this monument innumerable praises of both had this
to his dearly beloved ones namely, to small monument admitted. Learn
his wife, Christian Muat, daughter of hence, O Mortal, that the divinities
Magnus, Lord of Bollquholly, who died who spin the fatal threads of life, spare
prematurely, in the bloom of life, and neither young nor old."
to his daughters, etc. 2 [He afterwards married Catherine,
THEIR EPITAPH. daughter of Hugh, seventh Lord Lovat.
This monument covers ladies turned Christian Mowat was mother of Mar-
into ashes, whose names were Gemma garet. Family of Kilravock (Spalding
and Christian ; the one was cut off in Club), p. 339.]
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON. 85
seems also to have had some rights over Stemster. He The sinciairs of
married, in 1632, Jean, daughter of John Cunningham Dunbeath and
of Brownhill. In 1647 he was dead. He left four sons
and three daughters :
1. William of Dunbeath and Geanies.
2. John of Brabster-myre, ancestor of the family of
Sinclair-Sutherland of Brabster.
3. Alexander of Stemster, who married Anna, daugh-
ter ^ of Sir James Sinclair of Murkle, and died
4. George of Barrock, ancestor of the Sinciairs of
1. Elizabeth, who married, in 1657, Walter Bruce of
Ham, and was afterwards "Lady Olrig," as wife
of George Sinclair of Olrig.
2. Jean, who married, in 1651, Magnus Mowat of
3. Margaret, who married Sir William Dunbar of
II. WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF DUNBEATH, LATHERON, AND
GEANIES, sometimes erroneously styled " Sir William,"
was a gentleman of considerable estate and position, and,
in addition to his landed property, held large apprisings
affecting the earldom, although before his death he
appears to have had considerable debts. In 1661 he was
one of the County Commissioners in the Scottish
1 Contract of Marriage.
86 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON.
The sinciairs of Parliament. He married, in 1656, his cousin, Elizabeth,
Latheron. daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Mey, who survived
him, and died in 1722. He died in 1690, and had five
sons and six daughters :
1. Alexander, younger of Dunbeath, a Commissioner
of Supply in 1685. He died without issue.
2. John, heir to his father.
3. William of Stemster, to which he succeeded on
the death of his uncle, Alexander. He married
Helen Munro, and died without issue in 1699.
4. James, afterwards Sir James.
5. David, who died without issue.
1. Anne, eldest daughter.
2. Elizabeth, who married, in 1698, James Sutherland
of Langwell, and died without issue.
3. Janet, who married Andrew Bruce of Muness,
Shetland, and died without issue.
4. Jean, who married, in 1682, Sir George Sinclair of
.' 6. Katharine, "Lady Bowermadden," who married
Sir Patrick Dunbar.
The daughters are mentioned in the above order of
seniority in a " Memorial" in 1754 regarding their
III. JOHN SINCLAIR, as the eldest surviving son,
took up, on the death of his brother, Alexander, the
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON. 87
succession to the estates of Dunbeath, Latheron, and The sinciairs of
Geanies, the last named of which he sold, in 1703, to Dunbeath and
JEneas Macleod of Cadboll.
He is said to have been a weak man, and to have
made a marriage so displeasing to his father that "he
conceived a mortal hatred to him." Certain it is that
in addition to his wife's liferent of Dunbeath, and his
own debts, his father burdened him with large provi-
sions to his other children, besides reserving the appris-
ings against the earldom, amounting to 14,000 merks.
John Sinclair married Isabella, daughter of M'Kenzie
of Ardloch, and had two sons and a daughter :
1. James, his successor in Latheron.
2. William, Colonel in the Bavarian service, who left
no issue. He is named in a disposition and
settlement by his brother in 1746.
1. Barbara, who died unmarried. 1
IV. JAMES SINCLAIR OF LATHERON, and heir-apparent
of Dunbeath, never got possession of the latter estate,
through the machinations of his uncle, James. In 1728
he married Frances, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar,
by whom he had an only child, James.
1 [There must have been a married in the Kirktown of Latheron ; on Sept.
daughter, Mrs. Tyrie: for David Tyrie, 27, 1790, heir-general of his uncle,
cabinetmaker, Edinburgh, was, on Nov. James Sinclair of Latheron, and on
22, 1790, served heir of line and pro- Dec. 6, 1792, heir-general of his cousin,
vision special of his great-great-grand- James Sinclair of Latheron.]
father, Alexander Sinclair of Latheron,
88 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON.
The sinciairs of In 1751 and 1753, with consent of his son, he sold
Dunbeath and -,.-,. -1^.1 ^ 1-1 i -m-n-
Latheron. his claim to Dun beath to his brother-in-law, William
Sinclair of Freswick. He supported the Rebellion in
1745, and although considered "a weak and timid man,"
he collected one hundred men, and attended a muster at
Spittal Hill. He also fought a duel with William Sinclair
of Bridgend, son of George Sinclair of Barrock. He
died in 1775.
V. JAMES SINCLAIR, THE LAST OF LATHERON, died
unmarried in 1788.
Robert Manson Sinclair of Bridgend, as trustee for
James Sinclair of Latheron, raised a reduction of the sale
of Dunbeath to William of Freswick against his son, John,
on various grounds, but after considerable litigation the
process ended unsuccessfully.
VI. Reverting to the succession to the estate of
Dunbeath, it appears that on the death of William
Sinclair, his fourth son, James, got from his mother a
renunciation of her liferent of Dunbeath, at that time
worth 200 per annum, and then he ejected her from
possession, a step which led to a complaint at her
instance to the Privy Council, Next he bought up the
family provisions and the debts due by his brother ; and
finally, in 1720, he adjudged Dunbeath for 48,000 Scots,
and was infeft in 1722. In the same year his mother's
liferent ceased by her death, and he entered on possession
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON. 89
of Dunbeath. In 1704 he was created a baronet, 1 and he The sinciairs of
died in the Abbey in 1742. and
Sir James Sinclair appears to have been a man of a
violent and somewhat unscrupulous character. In 1734,
as Baron of Dunbeath, he held a Criminal Court and
adjudged one William Sinclair to death for the crime of
theft. But the proceedings were quashed, and Sinclair
having raised an action against Sir James, obtained large
damages. In 1739 one George Sutherland raised an
action for wrongous imprisonment against Sir James,
in which the latter was subjected to a fine and
damages, and declared incapable of public trust in time
Sir James was twice married first, to Isabel,
daughter of Sir Archibald Muir of Thornton, Provost of
Edinburgh, by whom he had four sons and a daughter:
1. William, afterwards Sir William.
2. Alexander, to whom his brother, Benjamin, was
3. Benjamin, afterwards Sir Benjamin.
4. Archibald, who died in Jamaica, unmarried.
1. Margaret, who married William Sinclair of Achin-
gale and Newton.
Sir James married, secondly, and shortly before his
death, Isabel, daughter of John Lumsden, shipmaster in
Aberdeen, by whom he had a daughter
1 [By patent, dated Oct. 12, 1704, to him "ejusque haeredea masculos in
perpetuum." Register of the Great Seal.]
90 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON.
The sinciairs of Jean, who married Robert Campbell, linen draper,
Latheron. Abbey hill, Edinburgh. 1
In 1721 Murdoch Campbell in Brubster married
Janet, a daughter of Sir James, and probably a natural
child, as no mention of her is found in the family
VII. SIR WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF DUNBEATH AND
KEISS succeeded his father, Sir James. Keiss was
acquired by the family through a transaction with Lord
Breadalbane, embracing the discharge of the apprisings
against the earldom. As heir-apparent to Dunbeath,
Sir William sold his interest therein, in 1752, to William
Sinclair of Freswick, and, in 1753-54, he made up a title.
Having fallen into pecuniary difficulties, he sold Keiss to
" Ulbster " for 7000 sterling.
He married Charlotte, second daughter of Dame
Elizabeth and Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs, and had
two sons and a daughter :
1. Captain Alexander Sinclair.
2. Kennedy Muir Sinclair, of whom there are no
particulars, but it is presumed he died without
VIII. CAPTAIN ALEXANDER SINCLAIR married Eliza-
1 [As " wife of Lieutenant Robert wife of Sir James Sinclair, in Keiss and
Campbell, Regt./' she was served heir other lands, on Dec. 19, 1777. See
to her mother, Dame Isabel Lumsden, p. 91.]
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON. 91
beth, daughter of Eric Sutherland, eldest son of Kenneth, The sinciairs of
third Lord Duffus, a
only son, Alexander.
third Lord Duffus, and died before his father, leaving an Latheron. a
IX. SIR ALEXANDER SINCLAIR went to the West
Indies, and perished at sea on his passage from Jamaica
to Halifax in 1786. He is not known to have left any
X. SIR BENJAMIN SINCLAIR OF STEMSTER, third son
of Sir James, took up the title on the death of his grand-
nephew, Sir Alexander. He was served heir to his
brother, Alexander, and in 1740 he had received a dispo-
sition to Stemster from his father, but he was all his life
in straitened circumstances. He married Jean, youngest
daughter of John Sinclair of Assery, and had a son and
two daughters :
1. Isabella, eldest daughter, who died unmarried.
From L the reduced circumstances of her father
she was quite unprovided for, and was dependent
on her aunts , " Mrs. Ay ton of Kippo and Mrs.
Captain Campbell of St. James' Square." Who
Mrs. Ayton was does not appear, but her aunt,
Jean, having married a Mr. Campbell, she is
probably the Mrs. Captain Campbell mentioned.
2. Helen, who married Dr. Watson, head of the
Medical Board at Madras, and had a son.
92 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUNBEATH AND LATHERON.
The Sinclair* of XL SIR JOHN SINCLAIR, only son of Sir Benjamin,
Latheron. took up the style of " Sinclair of Dunbeath," as heir
to the baronetcy created in 1704 in the person of his
grandfather, Sir James, then in possession of that estate.
After serving as lieutenant in the Sutherland Fencibles,
he went to India, where he attained the rank of Major-
General, and returning to England he died there in 1842.
He married Miss Notley at Madras in 1803. She died
in 1806. By her he had a son and a daughter :
John Notley, who died young.
Jane, who married, in 1822, Patrick Wallace, of the
Honourable East India Company's Naval Service,
and has issue.
Sir John married, secondly, Sarah Charlotte Carter,
who died, in 1867, without issue, at the age of 85.
Sir John was the last heir-male of Sir James Sinclair
in the direct line, and by the death of James Sinclair of
Latheron in 1788, the baronetcy opened up to the
descendants of George Sinclair, first of Barrock (Sir
James Sinclair's uncle), in the person of John Sinclair,
fifth of Barrock, who was accordingly served heir in 1842,
The heir-male of John Sinclair, first of Brabster, an elder
brother of George Sinclair of Barrock, would have been
prior in succession, but the Brabster male line had failed
on the death of the two sons of George, third of Brabster.
In the event of the failure of heirs-male of Sinclair of
Durran, the family of Barrock appears to be next in
succession to the earldom of Caithness.
THE SINCLAIR SUTHERLANDS OF BRABSTER
I. JOHN SINCLAIR, first of this family, was second son The Sinclair
of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, and his wife, Jean Brabster or
Cunningham, daughter of John Cunningham of Brown-
hill. On 2d December 1650 his uncle, Sir John Sinclair
of Geanies and Dunbeath, disponed to him the lands of
Brabster-myre, which he had acquired from the Mowat
family. He had probably been involved in the political
troubles of the time, for in 1658 John Murray, writer in
Edinburgh (son of Murray of Pennyland), writing to
Walter Bruce of Ham, who had married Brabster's sister,
says " If your brother-in-law, John Sinclair, be come
home, he would doe weill to keep himself quiet, for this
day Ortoun shews me who has been in Dalkeith, yet the
General has sent ane ordere to Capt. Pantimane to
apprehend him when he comes into the country." John
Sinclair married Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Sinclair
of Ulbster, and had a son and a daughter :
Alexander, his successor.
Jean, who married Harry Innes of Borlum, ancestor
of the late family of Innes of Sandside.
'94 THE SINCLAIR SUTHERLANDS
The Sinclair From a bond of annuity dated 6th December 1683,
Sutherlands of T10 . 1 . _
Brabsteror John buiciair appears to have had a second wife, lor in
Brabster-myre. ^ deed he provideg an anim i t y O f 500 merks to his
" beloved bedfellow and spouse," Sibella Halcrow. This
lady may have been of the Orkney family of Halcro of
II. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married
Margaret, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar, and had
two sons :
1. George, his successor.
After the death of Alexander Sinclair, his widow
married Alexander Gibson, minister of Canisbay.
III. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married Janet,
second daughter of James Sutherland of Langwell, and
his wife, Ann, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster.
" Lady Brabster " lived to a great age, and was a shrewd
active woman when in her eighty-first year. In 1787
she purchased West Canisbay. George Sinclair had two
sons and a daughter :
1. Captain Alexander, who died in 1756.
2. James, who was drowned at Elgin.
1. Anne, his successor.
IV. MRS. ANNE SINCLAIR OF BRABSTER married, in
1762, her cousin, Robert Sutherland of Langwell, son of
OF BRABSTER OR BRABSTER-MYRE. 95
James of Langwell, and his wife, Rachel Dunbar, daughter The Sinclair
of Dame Elizabeth and Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs, BrabsterV
and had two sons and a daughter : Brabster-myre.
1. James, who died in his nineteenth year.
2. George, her successor.
1. Alexandrina, who married James Macbeath, and
V. GEORGE SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF BRABSTER
married his cousin, Margaret, daughter of George
Gibson, and grand-daughter of Alexander Gibson,
minister of Canisbay, and his wife, Margaret, daughter
of John Sinclair of Rattar. He died in 1840, and had
seven sons and five daughters :
1. Robert, Lieutenant- Colonel in the East India
Company's Service, who died in 1863, without
surviving issue. He married his cousin, Mar-
garet, daughter of Donald Robeson, Writer in
Thurso, who survived him, and died in 1869.
3. George, who died without issue in 1869.
4. Alexander, who died without issue in 1862.
5. John, Captain in the East India Company's Ser-
vice, who died without issue in 1844.
6. David, a merchant in America, who has issue.
7. William, M.D. in Australia, who has issue.
1. Janet, who died unmarried in 1865.
2. Anne, who died unmarried in 1824.
96 THE SINCLAIR STJTHERLANDS.
The Sinclair 3. Margaret, who died unmarried in 1868.
Sutherlands of ~ .,, , ,. , *- , .
Brabsteror 4. Camilla, who died unmarried in 1849.
Brabster-myre. 5 Elizabeth, who married the Rev. Mr. M'Gregor,
and has issue, three sons.
VI. JAMES SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF BRABSTER suc-
ceeded in 1863, when the estate was conveyed to him by
his father's trustees ; and in 1865 he sold it to the Earl
of Caithness for 16,500. He left two sons.
Had George Sinclair Sutherland, fifth of Brabster,
been an heir-male of this family, he, as the descendant
of an elder son of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, would
have succeeded in 1842, in preference to John Sinclair of
Barrock, to the baronetcy of Dunbeath.
THE SINCLAIRS OF BARROCK.
I. GEORGE SINCLAIR, FIRST OF BARROCK, was the The sinciairs of
fourth son of Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, and was B!
grandson of George Sinclair of Mey. From a provision
of 6000 merks received from his uncle, Sir John Sinclair
of Geanies and Dunbeath, he acquired the lands of Bar-
rock, which he held in wadset from the family of Rattar,
and although the wadset was redeemed in 1673 by John
Sinclair, then of Rattar, and though the lands now
belong to Mr. Traill, the family designation continues to
be " Sinclair of Barrock." Between 1681 and 1697 he
purchased one-third of Lyth, part of Hastigrow, Fitches,
and Sortopt (all of which, except Hastigrow, still form
part of the family estate) ; and in 1698 he acquired from
the Mowats the estate of Swinzie, now called Lochend.
George Sinclair was three times married, and died in
1724, aged 90 years.
By his first "wife, Anne Dunbar, daughter of John
Dunbar of Hempriggs, he had a son and three daugh-
1. John, his successor.
1 . Jean, who married John Sinclair of Stirkoke.
98 THE SINCLALRS OF BAKROCK.
The sinciairs of 2. Katharine, who married Charles Sinclair of Bilb-
3. Margaret, who married James Murray of Clairden.
By his second wife, Elizabeth Murray, daughter of
David Murray of Clairden, and widow of William Lines
of Isauld and Sandside, he had three sons and two
1. Alexander Sinclair of Swinzie, which he got from
his father, Vide Sinclair Sutherland of Swinzie.
2. William, who married Sidney, daughter and co-
heiress of George Manson of Bridge-end. Vide
1. Elizabeth, who married John Sinclair of Durran.
2. Anne, who died unmarried.
His third wife was Elizabeth Gumming, daughter of
William Gumming, the last Episcopal minister of Halkirk,
and his wife Katharine, daughter of John Murray of
Penny land. By this marriage he had four sons and a
1. James, who died abroad.
4. Benjamin, who was sometime in Duncansbay.
I. Janet, who died unmarried in 1772.
None of the sons left issue.
II. JOHN SINCLAIK, eldest son of George, was the
THE SINCLAIRS OF BARBOCK. 99
second Sinclair of Barrock. Between 1696 and 1737 he The sinciairs of
purchased the following lands, viz., from the Hansons Barrock *
part of Kirk ; also the remainder of Kirk and part of
Myrelandhorn and Bowertower ; from James Calder the
lands of Sibster or Sibsterwick, Thurster, Heshwell, and
Quoylee, parts of the Stirkoke estate; and from Sir James
Sinclair of Dunbeath, Howe, Myreland, and Quintfal. In
1726 he excambed his part of Kirk, Hastigrow, and
Myrelandhorn, with David Sinclair of Dun, for the other
two-thirds of Lyth, Bilster, Alterwall, and Crooks of
Howe. He died in 1743.
He was twice married, 1 first to Anne, daughter of
Robert Sinclair of Durran, and widow of James Suther-
land of Langwell. By her he had a son and three
1. Alexander, his successor, who was born in 1706.
1. Jean, who married George Murray of Clairden.
2. Margaret, who married Sir James Sinclair of Mey. 2
His second wife was his cousin, Janet, daughter of
Dame Elizabeth and Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs. 3
She afterwards married Harry Innes of Borlum and
Sandside. By her John Sinclair had three sons and a
1. George, who was an officer in the army, and who
1 Contract of Marriage, 25th July 1709.
2 Contract of Marriage, 27th November 1735.
3 Contract of Marriage, 31st December 1737.
100 THE SINCLAIRS OF BARROCK.
The sinciairs of died of a wound in Antigua in 1759, while he
was still a minor.
2. James, who died young.
3. John, who succeeded to Sibster, and who married
Helen, daughter of George Sinclair of Stirkoke,
by whom he had a son, Benjamin. The estate
was judicially sold, and John Sinclair and his son
left the county.
III. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF BARROCK married
Jean, second daughter of William Sinclair of Freswick, 1
and had three sons and four daughters :
1. John, his successor.
2. William, W.S., who died unmarried. He was last
substitute in the entail executed by his uncle,
John of Freswick.
3. George, bond of provision dated in 1764.
1. Katherine, who died unmarried.
2. Anne, who died unmarried.
3. Margaret, who married Colonel Borthwick, and
had no issue.
4. Jean, who married William Charles Eeoch, 2 and
had no issue.
IV. JOHN SINCLAIR OF BARROCK married, first, Miss
1 Contract of Marriage, 29th October 1753.
2 Contract of Marriage, 6th August 1795.
THE SINCLAIRS OF BARROCK. 101
Ann Longmire of Penrith, 1 and had two sons and five The sinciairs of
i i , Barrock.
1. Alexander, who died young.
2. John, his successor.
1. Maria, who died unmarried, 9th March 1876, aged
2. Jane, who married William Sinclair of Freswick.
3. Anne, who married William Smith, minister of
Bower, and had issue.
4. Margaret, who married Mr. Paton, and had issue.
5. Elizabeth, who married Allan Robertson, a Lieu-
tenant in the army, afterwards Sheriff-clerk of
Caithness, and had issue, a son and several
John Sinclair's second wife was Janet Miller, by
whom he had two sons and three daughters :
1. William, who died young.
2. Donald, M.D., who died in 1873, and left issue.
1. Isabella, who married the Rev. Peter Jolly, Dun-
net, and had two daughters.
2. Jessie, who married Mr. Scarth of Binscarth.
3. Catherine, who married Mr. Sime.
Y. JOHN SINCLAIR OF BARROCK succeeded his father,
and in 1842, on the death of General Sir John Sinclair,
he took up the baronetcy of Dunbeath, granted in 1704
to James Sinclair of Dunbeath, nephew of George Sin-
1 Postnuptial Contract of Marriage, 6th and 10th February 1796.
102 THE SINCLAIRS OF BARROCK.
Thesinciairsofclair, first of Barrock. In 1821 he married Margaret,
daughter of John Learmonth, Esq., Edinburgh. Sir John
died 21st April 1873, and was buried at Holyrood. He
had three sons and a daughter :
1. John, his eldest son, Captain in the 39th Madras
Native Infantry, was killed in action, at Jhansi,
in the Indian Mutiny, 5th April 1858. He was
2. Alexander Young, Lieutenant- Colonel in the Bom-
bay Army, died at Jeypore, Bombay, 3d February
1871. In 1861 he married Margaret Crichton,
daughter of James Alston, Esq. He left two
sons and a daughter :
1. John Eose George, who is a minor, and who
has succeeded to the estate and baronetcy.
2. Norman Alexander.
3. George, retired Captain in the Bengal Army,
married in 1859 Agnes, only daughter of John
Learmonth of the Dean, and died 23d March
1871, leaving three sons.
1. Grace Elizabeth, Sir John's only daughter, died
His three sons were gentlemen of high character and
promise, and their death in the prime of life occasioned
much general regret.
THE SINCLAIRS OF STIRKOKE.
I. IN 1507 DAVID SINCLAIR obtained a Crown charter The sinciairs of
of Stirkoke and Alterwall, in which he is designed " filio
naturali quond. Joannis Magistri Cathanensis," and in
1588 he obtained letters of legitimation. He died before
1595, and left a son, John, as also a natural son, Colonel
George Sinclair, who was slain in an expedition to Nor-
way in 1612.
II. JOHN SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE was slain in a fight
at Thurso in 1612. It is uncertain whether he had any
III. FRANCIS SINCLAIR. LAIRD or STIRKOKE, in 1624,
was a natural son of George, fifth Earl of Caithness.
In Captain Kennedy's MS. relative to Caithness
matters, he states that Francis Sinclair's mother was one
Barbara Mearns. In February 1670 Christian Mearns,
daughter of William Mearns in Wick, as nearest heir of
her grandfather, George Mearns of Occumster, Achavar,
and Smerary, 1 and of her grand-uncle, William Mearns of
1 Inventory of Caithness titles.
104 THE SINCLAIRS OF STIRKOKE.
The sinciairs of Occumster, granted a disposition to Francis Sinclair,
whose mother, if Captain Kennedy's account is correct,
was perhaps of this family.
Francis Sinclair married Margaret Williamson, and
had three sons and two daughters :
1. Francis, his successor.
1. Marjory, who was the fifth wife of Donald, first
Lord Reay, by whom he had three sons, William
of Kinloch, Charles of Sandwood, and Rupert ;
and two daughters, Margaret, who died in Thurso
in 1720, and Christian, who married, in 1650,
Alexander Gunn of Killernan (Clan Gunn), and
was in 1668 infeft in liferent in lands of Navi-
dale, etc., on disposition by her husband.
2. Anne, who married Colonel Francis Sinclair in
Scrabster, a son of John Sinclair, first of Assery.
IV. FRANCIS SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE married, in 1658,
Anne, eldest daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster.
His mother, Margaret Williamson, and his "uncle,"
Francis of Northfield, second son of George, fifth Earl,
were parties to the contract of marriage, thus showing
that his father, Francis, must have been one of the two
natural sons of Earl George. Francis Sinclair had four
sons and a daughter :
1. Patrick, eldest son in 1676.
THE SINCLAIRS OF STIRKOKE. 105
2. John, his SUCCeSSOr. The Sinclairs of
3. George, called the second son, who had a charter St
to Sibster-Wick in 1673-75.
4. Charles of Bilbster, who married, first, Katharine,
daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock, and,
secondly, Mary Dunbar. His only child, Fenella,
married Donald Sinclair of Olrig. Charles
Sinclair had the unenviable sobriquet of " Earl
1. Jean, who married John Gibson, minister of Evie,
Orkney, brother of Alexander Gibson, minister
V. JOHN SINCLAIR, OF STIRKOKE was served heir to
his father in 1681, and died about 1706. He married
Margaret, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Mey, and
had two sons :
VI. FRANCIS SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE had several
daughters, but no male issue j 1 and in 1710 he disponed
the estate to his brother, George. His daughter, Frances,
was married to Bernard Clunes, merchant in Cromarty,
by whom she had a family. Some litigation took place
between her and her uncle in regard to the succession to
106 THE SINCLAIRS OF STIRKOKE.
The sinciairs of the lands, which, under a submission, were awarded to
Stirkoke. , . , . ,
mm as heir-male.
VII. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE married Isabella
Strahan. He died in 1744, and had three sons and two
1. Charles, apparent in 1768.
2. Francis, who was a shipmaster in Wick.
1. Elizabeth, who married George Smith in Dunnet.
2. Helen, who married John Sinclair of Sibster.
VIII. CHARLES SINCLAIR OF STIRKOKE married Eliza-
beth, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Olrig, and had
an only daughter, Katharine Sinclair of Stirkoke, who
resided and died at Scorraclett unmarried.
The arms of Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke, as recorded
in the Lyon Office, were : " The quartered coat of
Caithness, with the cross ingrailed, dividing the quarters,
all within a bordure gobonated gules and or ; Crest, a
naked arm issuing out of a cloud, grasping a small sword,
with another lying by, all proper ; Motto, Ille vincit,
ego mereo." The " bordure gobonated" is a distinctive
mark of illegitimacy.
THE SINCLAIES OF DUN.
THERE is difficulty in determining with certainty the The sinciairs of
origin of the Sinciairs of Dun, but they are believed to
be cadets of the Caithness family.
In a notice in Calder's " History of Caithness " they
are said to have settled in Caithness in 1379, and to have
possessed the lands of Dun nearly a century before any
others of the name appear to have acquired a footing in
the county. But no evidence has been found to support
this view ; and there is no reason given for fixing on so
early a date as the period of the settlement of this branch
of the Sinciairs in Caithness ; nor indeed does it appear
"that the name had any connection with the county till
after the grant of the earldom in 1456," as stated by Mr.
Alexander Sinclair. 1 On the other hand, it is certain
that in 1508, and even at a much later period, the lands
of Dun were possessed by the Caldells or Calders, and
there is no trace of a " Sinclair of Dun " sooner than 1540.
In that year, as appears from an old inventory of title-
deeds of the Groats, which is given by Calder, one " John
Sinclair of Dun " was, along with other " honest men/* a
witness to a deed granted by the Earl of Caithness. In
1 Letter, March 1867.
108 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN.
1541 " David Sinclair of Dunn" was cautioner in a
tack of teinds to the Earl of Caithness, and in 1544
" William Caldall of Dunn " is witness to an instru-
ment of sasine in favour of Margaret and Helen
In a MS. written about 1770, by the late William
Sinclair of Freswick, who was himself a descendant of the
family of Dun, their progenitor is said to have been David,
second son of William, second Earl of Caithness. In
a charter granted in January 1560, to David Sinclair,
then of Dun, by John, fifth Earl of Sutherland, and his
wife Eleanor, they style him, "noster consanguineus-
germanus ; " but even on the supposition at one time
generally entertained by genealogists, though now dis-
carded, that Lady Marjorie, the mother of William,
second Earl of Caithness, was cousin-german, or, as she
is called by Gordon, " near cousin," to Elizabeth, Countess
of Sutherland (the grandmother of Earl John), David,
the supposed son of the Earl of Caithness, would only,
after all, stand to Earl John in the degree of third cousin.
If, however, as stated in the notice in Calder's " History,"
the relationship between David Sinclair of Dun and Earl
John was merely that of " cousins by consanguinity" that
requirement is no doubt met if David Sinclair really was
the son of Earl William. But Earl William's only sons
of whom we have certain mention are John, his successor,
Alexander of Stemster, and William, a natural son, who
was legitimized in 1542. How then David of Dun and
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN. 109
Earl John could have been cousins-german, remains to be The sinciairs of
T i Dun.
In a MS. on Caithness affairs by the late Captain
Kennedy of Wick, it is said that " George, fourth Earl
of Caithness, had a son called David, who begat John
Sinclair of Dun and William Sinclair of Forss-Milns."
This, if true, might account for the John Sinclair of 1540,
mentioned in Groat's Inventory ; but then there is no
evidence that the fourth Earl had a son named David,
although lie had a natural brother, David Sinclair, who
was Bailie to the Bishop of Caithness, and who appears
in 1541 as cautioner for the Earl in a tack of the teind
sheaves of Canisbay, and who is likewise mentioned as
having been imprisoned by his brother in Girnigo Castle.
About the middle of the sixteenth century, and pro-
bably not later than 1557 or 1558, George, the fourth
Earl, arranged a marriage between Y M'Kay of Farr,
and Christian Sinclair, who is designed by Gordon as
"daughter to the laird of Dun, and cousin to the Earl."
It is evident that, if this lady was the Earl's cousin only,
the Earl could not have been the father of this laird of
Dun. M'Kay, referring to this marriage, says (p. 152),
that Christian Sinclair was the daughter of " William
Sinclair, laird of Dun," and that she was the Earl's cousin.
If Earl George's illegitimate uncle, William, the son of
William, the second Earl, was laird of Dun, then Chris-
tian Sinclair and Earl George were certainly cousins-
german ; but there appears to be no evidence that
110 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN.
The sinciairs of Christian Sinclair's father was named William, although
so stated by M'Kay.
In the above-mentioned charter granted to David
Sinclair of Dun, in 1560, the Earl of Sutherland gives to
him in liferent, and to " his sons," William, Alexander, and
Henry, in succession, and to the " heirs-male of their bodies
lawfully 'begotten," in fee, the lands of Forss and Baillie.
It appears that in 1586 a Henry Sinclair, who unques-
tionably was the brother of Christian, the laird of Dun's
daughter, was killed in a fight with the Clan Gunn, then
under command of Hutcheon M'Kay, who was a son of
Christian Sinclair, and therefore Henry's own nephew.
As no other Henry Sinclair is mentioned about the same
period, except Henry, the son of David of Dun, it may
be that Christian Sinclair's brother was the same Henry
Sinclair who is named in the charter, and thus that she
was a daughter of David Sinclair of ,Dun. If so, as she
was " cousin to the Earl of Caithness," so must her father
also have been connected with that family.
There is extant a summons dated 12th March, in the
20th year of Queen Mary that is the year 1562 at the
instance of John Sinclair, " eldest son and heir of the
deceased David Sinclair of Dun" with consent of his
curators, the Earl of Caithness and John Grote, against
William Sinclair of Forss, as an intromitter with the
writs and evidents of David Sinclair, immediately after
his decease in March 1560. In this action William
Sinclair is called upon to produce acquittances given to
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN. Ill
David Sinclair of Dun by the Executors of James Brodie, The sinciairs of
Archdeacon of Caithness, for rents due by the tenants
in the temporal lands of the Arch-deanery, from 1547 to
1558 ; acquittances from 1528 to 1560, by the Bishop,
for the teind sheaves of Staneland, Forss, and Baillie,
and for the maiUs and duties of the temporal lands of
the bishopric, and fitted accounts between the Bishop
and David Sinclair of Dun, of his intromissions with the
farms and duties of the earldom of Caithness. If David
Sinclair had been the Chamberlain or Bailie of the
Bishopric, the writs which William Sinclair is called upon
to produce, as taken by him from the repositories of the
deceased, are just such documents as David would properly
have had in his possession ; and it has been shown that
David, a son of John, Earl of Caithness, actually held the
office of Bailie to the Bishop. As this Earl lived till 1529,
there is no difficulty in supposing his son to have lived till
1560 ; and thus, the father of John Sinclair of Dun of 1562,
may have been David, the natural son of Earl John.
The summons makes no reference to any relationship
between David Sinclair of Dun and William Sinclair of
Forss ; and thus, while it is certain that the latter was a
son of the David Sinclair of Dun who got the charter in
January 1560, and that John Sinclair was the son of a
David Sinclair of Dun who died in March 1560, still it is
not known that the two Davids were identical, and that
William Sinclair of Forss and John Sinclair of Dun were
112 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN.
The sinciairs of If the circumstance that John Sinclair sues, in 1562,
^ with consent of curators, is to be taken as proof that he
was then a minor, it is difficult to reconcile the fact of
his having been the eldest son and heir of his father, with
his being brother to William Sinclair of Forss, for the
latter in 1561 had been admitted as vassal in Forss to
the Earl of Sutherland ; had granted deeds as owner in
possession of these lands ; had been witness to the execu-
tion of important deeds, and had thus conducted himself
as a man of full age. But if the David Sinclair who got
the charter in January 1560, and the David Sinclair who
died in March of the same year, were the same, then
William of Forss and John of Dun must have been
brothers, and William Sinclair and his brothers, Alex-
ander and Henry, may have been sons by a previous
marriage, and John may have been made the heir to the
Dun estate under some family arrangement similar to
that by which William was provided with Forss and
Baillie. Or, lastly, David Sinclair may have had an
elder son, David, who, after succeeding to Dun, had died
young and left his son and heir, John, a minor, who would
thus be the nephew of William Sinclair, and not his
brother. Among the writs taken possession of by
William Sinclair, the summons of exhibition includes a
contract between David Sinclair of Dun and the Master
of Oliphant, in regard to these lands, by which the
Master, who had in 1549 obtained a grant of the non-
entry dues of Dun, obliged himself to give a new infeft-
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN. 113
ment thereof. This deed, if it be still in existence, The sinciairs of
would no doubt throw some light on the history of the Dun '
Finally, there is an account of this family in Father
Hays "St. Glairs of Roslyn." It is there said : " St. Glair
of Doun is a great-grand-child of John, Lord Beridall.
The first of this surname who obtained these lands was
one David, who married one Marie, heretrix of Doun,
daughter to William Gaidar, and begot John, who
espoused Agatha, daughter of Heugh Grant or Grott
of Souldon, upon whom he begott William, who espoused
Margaret, daughter of Sir William Keith of Loutquarne,
by whom he had several childering : they all dieing,
their uncle, William, second sone to the foresaid John
and Agatha, succeeded, and married Marjorie, daughter
to Saul Bruce, LaircJ of Leith (Lyth), who bore to him
David, his successor, married upon Janet, daughter
of John Saintclare of Olbstar. This David was laird
It is noticeable that these various accounts of the
origin of the family, with the exception of the incidental
reference to John of 1540, all point to a David Sinclair
as the first laird of Dun, although they differ as to his
paternity. But if Hay's " David, laird of Dun," who
married Ulbster's daughter, was the son, as he is
supposed to have been, and not the grandson of John
Sinclair, as his pedigree of the family makes him to be,
then this David Sinclair might have been "the great-
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN.
The Sinclair.-? of grand-child of John, Lord Beridall" (afterwards third
Earl of Caithness), and the grandson of the Earl's natural
son, David, the Bishop's Bailie. Mr. Alexander Sinclair
(Ulbster), who has given much attention to genealogical
subjects, writes in March 1867, "I always thought that
Dun came from David, son of John, third Earl of Caith-
JOHN SINCLAIR, eldest son and heir of David, suc-
ceeded him in these lands. In 1591 he was infeft on a
charter by the Earl of Caithness, and in 1592 he got a
Crown charter of confirmation. He was twice married,
and had by his first wife, whose name is unknown, three
1. David, his successor, who makes reference to his
father's second wife as his "mother-in-law," or
2. James, who is mentioned by Gordon as that
" brother of the laird of Dun," who was wounded
in a fight in Thurso, in 1612.
3. George, designed, in 1616, as son of " Umquhile
John Sinclair of Dun."
John Sinclair's second wife was Agatha Grote, no
doubt the lady who is mentioned by Hay as the
daughter of Hugh Grote of " Souldon." She was life-
rented in Dun, and her name occurs in connection with
it from 1628 to 1642. By her John Sinclair had a
THE SINCLAIBS OF DUN. 115
William, ancestor of the Southdun branch of the The sindairs of
David Sinclair of Dun, son and heir of John, 1 suc-
ceeded his father, and was twice married. He is the
same David Sinclair who, in Hay's account of the family,
is said to have married " Janet" daughter of John Sinclair
of Ulbster ; but it is certain, from a charter granted to
him and his first wife in 1606, by the Earl of Caithness,
of the tenpenny lands of Dun, that the lady's name was
His second wife was Margaret, daughter of Donald
Sutherland of Forss, who was styled " Lady Dun." She
survived her husband and afterwards married Charles
Calder of Lynegar.
By his first marriage David Sinclair had three sons ;
and by his second marriage, a daughter :
1. Francis, his successor.
2. William, afterwards of Dun.
1. Jean, who married George Sinclair of Forss, in
Francis Sinclair of Dun was served heir to his father,
David, in 1650, and married Jean, daughter of John
Sinclair of Ulbster, by whom he had a daughter
William Sinclair of Dun was served heir of provision
to his brother, Francis, and in 1663 he got a charter from
1 Sasine, 1609.
116 THE SINCLAIKS OF DUN.
The sinciairs of the Archdean of Caithness of Scarmclett, Larrel, Galsh-
field, Clayock, and Campster. He was three times
married, first in 1643, to Elizabeth, daughter of Alex-
ander Sutherland of Forse ; secondly, to Isabel, daughter
of John Sinclair of Assery ; and thirdly, to Katharine
Sinclair, " Lady Dun," daughter of Alexander Sinclair of
Telstane. He had two sons and two daughters :
1. Alexander, his successor.
1. Jean, who married, in 1670, William, son of John
Sinclair of Assery.
2. , who married David Sinclair of Broyriach (see
Murkle), and had a son and daughter.
By which of his three wives William Sinclair had
these children does not appear, but his daughter, Jean,
could not have been of the second marriage, as her own
husband and her father's second wife were brother and
Alexander Sinclair of Dun received a disposition from
his father in 1680. He was twice married. The name
of his first wife has not been ascertained. His second
wife was Barbara, youngest daughter of Alexander
Henderson in Gerston, whom he married in 1751, but
he had no issue by her. He died in 1754. He had four
sons and two daughters :
1. William, mentioned in 1731, as younger of Dun.
2. Henry, who resided in Achavrole in 1769, and who
is mentioned as eldest son.
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN. 117
3. Richard, a merchant in Thurso, who was drowned The sinciairs of
in crossing the river at Thurso in 1755. He
married Elizabeth, sister of John M'Kay of
Strathy, and left two infant daughters, Elizabeth
and Janet. The former married William, second
son of Sir James Sinclair of Mey, better remem-
bered as " Willie of Mey." Janet married John
Mathers, Surveyor of Customs in Thurso. Both
daughters had issue, but their families are
Richard Sinclair has not only given name to " Sin-
clair's Pool " in Thurso river, but has also given occasion
to a tale of " second sight," which, although it may have
appeared in print, is here recorded. At the time of this
accident there was no bridge across the river, and it was
crossed at a ford, or by a ferry-boat lower down. Mr.
Sinclair had crossed to the east side by the ford in the
morning, and gone to the country on business. His wife
had some female friends with her in the evening, which
was dark and rainy ; and having occasion to leave the
room where her guests were, she observed, as she believed,
her husband pass up-stairs to his room, and she desired
the servant to carry up some fire, as he appeared to be
very wet. The servant not finding her master in the
room, a search was made, with the result that he was not
to be found within the house. The appearance seen by
Mrs. Sinclair was held to portend coming evil, and
accordingly her husband was found drowned in the pool
118 THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN.
The sinciairs of which still bears his name, man and horse having been
carried off from the ford by a sudden spate in the water.
4. David, the youngest son, who had a provision of
1. Elizabeth, designed in 1755 as widow of Patrick
Forbes. In 1737 she had a bond of provision
from her father.
2. Katharine, who had a provision of 3000 merks.
The family estate had become involved in debt, and
what remained of it appears to have been sold in 1751 to
David Sinclair of Southdun.
The story in Calder's " History of Caithness" (p. 259)
that the possessor of Dun in 1745 shot himself, because
balked by his mother in keeping an engagement to join
the Stewart party, is certainly without foundation, but
whether William, the eldest son and apparent heir in
1731, was alive in 1745 is uncertain.
Nisbet, whose work on Heraldry was written early in
last century, mentions from the Lyon Register the Arms
of a " Thomas * Sinclair, descended from the family of Dun
in Caithness," but of him there is no trace. The crest was
" a demi-man holding in one hand a sea-cat, and in the
other a pair of pencils, all proper," and the Motto, " Sic
rectius progredior." He also mentions the Arms of a
" Thomas Sinclair, son of William Sinclair, merchant in
Thurso, descended of the family of Caithness : " Motto,
1 In the Register the name is Laivrence, [and Nisbet's " sea-cat" is " a sea-
cart," i.e. sea- chart].
THE SINCLAIRS OF DUN. 119
" Fear God and Live ; " but whether this is the same or The sinciairs of
a different Thomas Sinclair, does not appear.
The Arms of William Sinclair of Dun were argent,
a cross ingrailed sable within a bordure of the second,
charged with eight plates argent : Crest, a man on horse-
back proper. Motto, " Promptus ad certamen."
THE SINCLAIRS OF SOUTHDUN.
The sinciairs of THE Sinclairs of Southdun are cadets of the family of
Dun, and are descended from John Sinclair of Dun, in
1560, and his second wife, Agatha Grote, who, according
to Father Hay's account of the family of Dun, was a
daughter of Hugh Grote of " Souldon." There is no
place in the county now known as Souldon, and it is
probable that the word is a misnomer for Southdun,
although no mention is found of that name until the time
of John Sinclair's grandson, David, first styled of South-
dun. From 1545 till about 1630 there was a family
of Grote of Brabsterdorran, one of whom was named
Hugh, the father, probably, of Agatha Grote; and
a connection between the Grotes and the Sinclairs
is shown by the circumstance of a John Grote hav-
ing been one of John Sinclair of Dun's curators in
1562. John Sinclair and Agatha Grote had a son,
William Sinclair is occasionally styled of Dun, and
also in Dun. He married Marjory, daughter of Saul
Bruce of Lyth, and in this particular Hay's account of
the family is confirmed, as will be seen by referring to
THE SINCLAIRS OF SOUTHDUN. 121
the " Notes " on Bruce of Lyth. He had two sons and a The sinciairs of
i -I , Southdun.
2. Francis, portioner of Brabsterdorran, styled " law-
ful brother of David Sinclair of Southdun," in
1. Isobel, who married in 1652 Thomas Grote, son of
Malcolm Grote of Warse. Malcolm Grote mar-
ried Margaret, daughter of George Sinclair of
Forss, and his wife, Jean, only daughter of David
Sinclair of Dun, thus showing the continued
connection between the Grotes and the several
branches of the Sinciairs of Dun.
I. DAVID SINCLAIR OF Southdun is the first Sinclair
who is so styled, and he is repeatedly mentioned in
writings by Agatha Grote, the second wife of John
Sinclair of Dun, as her " Oy," or grandchild. He mar-
ried Jean, widow of his cousin, Francis Sinclair of Dun,
and daughter of John Sinclair of Ulbster. He had four
sons and three daughters :
1. Patrick, his successor.
2. James of Lyth. In 1707 James Sinclair acquired
from Lord Glenorchy Alterwall and part of
3. David, in Brabsterdorran, who had a son, David
of Whitegar. He fought at Sheriffmuir in 1715
on the Stewart side.
122 THE SINCLAIRS OF SOUTHDUN.
The sinciairs of 4. Alexander.
1. Margaret, who married William Bruce of Stanstill.
2. Elizabeth, who married in 1672 Donald Budge of
3. Isobell, who married, in 1653, Lawrence Calder of
II. PATRICK SINCLAIR OF SOUTHDUN married Janet,
daughter of James Murray of Pennyland, and had three
sons and four daughters :
1. Marjory, who married William Calder of Lynegar.
3. Janet, who married John Sinclair of Rattar.
4. Elizabeth married Henry Budge, probably her
cousin, son of Alexander Budge in Harpsdale, and
grandson of Donald Budge, sixth of Toftingall.
III. JAMES SINCLAIR OF SOUTHDUN died in minority,
and was succeeded by his brother, David.
IV. DAVID SINCLAIR OF SOUTHDUN executed an en-
tail of the estate in 1747 ; and considerable exchanges of
property took place between him and Sinclair of Barrock.
He was three times married, first in 1714 to Lady Janet,
THE SINCLAIRS OF SOUTHDtJN. 123
daughter of John, eighth Earl of Caithness, who died in The sinciairs of
1720; secondly, to Marjory, daughter of Sir Eobert SoutMun -
Dunbar of Northfield, in 1748 ; and thirdly, to Margaret,
daughter of James Murray of Clairden. By his first
marriage he had a son and three daughters :
1. Patrick, who died about 1724.
1. Jean, who died young.
2. Jean, second of the name, who married Sir William
Dunbar of Hempriggs, and died without issue.
3. Janet, who married Dr. Stuart Threipland of
Fingask, and had a son, David Sinclair, a young
gentlemen of much promise, who died in 1778,
and a daughter, Janet.
By his second marriage he had two daughters :
1. Marjory, who married John, son of Sir Patrick
Dunbar of Northfield, her cousin-german, and
had no issue. She married thereafter James
Sinclair of Harpsdale, and had a son, George,
who died young, and four daughters, Henrietta of
Southdun, who was married to Colonel Wemyss,
and Janet, who married Colonel Williamson of
Banniskirk, and Emilia and Margaret, who died
2. Miss Katharine of Southdun, who died un-
By his third marriage David Sinclair had a daugh-
Margaret, who died at Lyons in 1774, unmarried.
124 THE SINCLAIRS OF SOUTHDUN.
The Sinclairs of V. MRS. HENRIETTA SINCLAIR OF SOUTHDUN, married
Colonel Wemyss, and had an only child, William.
VI. WILLIAM SINCLAIR WEMYSS OF SOUTHDUN mar-
ried Henrietta, daughter of Sir Benjamin Dunbar of
Hempriggs, Lord Duffus. He died in 1831, and left two
sons and two daughters :
1. David Sinclair.
2. Benjamin, who died in 1878, leaving an only child,
1. Janet or Jessie, who married James Sinclair of
Forss, and has issue.
2. Henrietta, who married Robert Innes of Thrumster,
and left an only child, Henrietta, now Mrs.
Bentley-Innes of Thrumster.
VII. DAVID SINCLAIR WEMYSS OF SOUTHDUN mar-
ried Elizabeth, daughter of George Sackville Sutherland
of Aberarder, Inverness-shire, and died 10th December
1877, aged 64. He had four sons and three daughters :
1. William, R.N., who died young and unmarried.
2. George Sackville.
3. Robert Dunbar Sinclair.
1. Henrietta Elizabeth, who married James Smith of
THE SINCLAIRS OF BRABSTERDORRAN.
IN the seventeenth century this property seems to The smciairs of
have been held in four different portions ; one by John
Henderson, "another by Henry Dundas, and two by
families of Hansons. In 1798 the whole was united in
the family of the Sinclairs of Southdun.
FRANCIS SINCLAIR, son of William in Dun, and
grandson of John Sinclair of Dun and Agatha Grote,
held a portion of Brabsterdorran in 1683. He married
Elizabeth Sinclair (of what family she was is now
unknown), and had two sons :
2. George, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Alex-
ander Gibson, Dean of Bower, and had an only
child, Jean, who married her cousin, David
Sinclair, in Whitegar, son of David Sinclair of
Whitegar, the grandson of David Sinclair of
Southdun. They had a son, Alexander, who was
portioner of Brabsterdorran, as in right of his
mother. He sold his interest, in 1780, to Miss
Katharine Sinclair of Southdun. Jean Sinclair's
126 THE SINCLAIRS OF BRABSTERDORRAN.
The smciairs of grandfather, Francis, had a wadset for 2000 merks
on Brabsterdorran, to which she as his heir had
right, and about 1738 and subsequent years
there was litigation in regard to the claims of
Francis Sinclair's heir to the lands, it being con-
tended that James Sinclair of Ly th had purchased
the reversion of the wadset for Francis, and that
the latter having died in the interim, and his
grandchild being young, James had kept the
reversion to himself, and had thus acquired the
heritable right to Brabsterdorran.
PATRICK SINCLAIR, a portioner of Brabsterdorran,
married, in 1703, Barbara, second daughter of William
Gumming, Minister of Halkirk, and his wife, Katharine,
daughter of John Murray of Pennyland. Patrick is said
to have had two sons :
1. William, nicknamed "La Mode." He had been a
midshipman in the navy, and was thereafter in the
Customs at Thurso. He married Rachel, daughter
of Mr. Gumming of Craigmiln, in Morayshire,
and among other children had Katharine, who
married Alexander Gumming, tacksman of Eattar.
2. James, who was tide-waiter in the Customs at
In 1670 Henry Dundas, then one of the portioners
of Brabsterdorran, granted a wadset to John Sinclair
THE SINCLAIES OF BRABSTERDORRAN. 127
in Brabsterdorran and Margaret, his wife, and William, The sinciairs of
their eldest son. In 1693 Margaret Sinclair, then relict Brabsterdorran -
of John, assigned the wadset to her son, Alexander.
Whether these Sinciairs were connected with the Brab-
sterdorran, or Dun and Southdun families, has not been
THE SINCLAIKS OF FOESS.
PREVIOUS to 1557 the lands of Forss and Baillie
belonged to the Bishopric, but in that year they were
feued out to John, Earl of Sutherland, and Eleanor, his
wife ; and in January 1560 they were granted in feu by
the Earl and his Lady to David Sinclair of Dun, in life-
rent, and to his three sons, William, Alexander, and
Henry, and to the heirs- male of their bodies lawfully
begotten, in succession, in fee. Who David Sinclair of
Dun was is uncertain, further than that he was in all
probability of the Caithness family. It is understood
that in the charter of 1560 he is styled by the Earl and
Countess "nostrum consanguineum germanum," but no
such near connection as cousins -german can be traced ;
and it is stated, on the authority of a gentleman who has
given much attention to the subject, that only in modern
times does such a phrase mean more than " of the same
blood." For particulars regarding the origin of the
family of Dun reference is made to the " Notes" on the
Sinclairs of Dun and Southdun.
The considerations in respect of which the above-
mentioned charter was granted are set forth therein at
THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS. 129
some length, such as services rendered, improvements to The sinciairs of
be effected on the lands, etc. They are much the same
as those contained in the charter granted in 1557 by the
Bishop and Chapter to the Earl of Sutherland, and are
generally in the style not unusual at the time. The
services alluded to as having been rendered by Sinclair
of Dun to the Earl cannot have reference, as supposed by
the late Mr. Sinclair of Forss, 1 to his having rescued the
Earl, when, a minor, from the Earl of Caithness ; for it
was not Earl John, but his son, Earl Alexander, who,
after his father's death, fell into the Earl of Caithness's
I. DAVID SINCLAIR OF DUN, AND FIRST SINCLAIR OF
FORSS, seems to have died in March 1560. In May 1561
his son, William, fiar of Forss, was admitted vassal in
Forss by the Earl of Sutherland ; and at the same date
he gave a liferent right in Forss to one Mary Stirling,
transactions not likely to have taken place had his father,
who had Forss in liferent, been then still alive. This
David Sinclair had certainly four sons :
1. William, fiar of Forss.
2. Alexander, of whom there is no mention, except
in the charter of 1560.
3. Henry^ conceived to be the same Henry Sinclair
who, as narrated by Gordon, was slain in 1586
1 See his letter, dated November 1860, regarding the family of Dun, inserted
in Calder's " History."
130 THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS.
The sinciairs of by the Clan Guim, under the command of his
nephew, Hutcheon M'Kay of Fair.
4. George, who is designed as "brother of William
Sinclair of Forss," and who was a witness along
with him to the contract of marriage, signed at
Girnigo Castle on 22d November 1563, between
Munro of Fowlis and Katharine Ross of Balna-
gown, afterwards notorious for her trial for
witchcraft and poisoning.
If the supposition be correct that Henry Sinclair,
who was killed in 1586, was the son of David Sinclair of
Dun, then David Sinclair had also a daughter
Christian Sinclair, who is described by Gordon as a
cousin of the Earl of Caithness. She was mar-
ried about 1557 or 1558 to Y M'Kay of Farr,
by whom she had two sons, Hutcheon and Wil-
liam. Hutcheon M'Kay married, first, Elizabeth,
daughter of George, fourth Earl of Caithness,
and, secondly, Lady Jane Gordon, daughter of
Alexander, Earl of Sutherland.
II. WILLIAM SINCLAIR " OF FORSS" is so styled in
1561-62-63 and subsequent years, and in 1567 he was a
witness, along with John Sinclair of Dun, to a notarial
instrument in favour of Alexander, Earl of Sutherland.
He married Janet Urquhart, who may have been a
daughter of the ancient family of Urquhart of Cromarty,
knights, who held that estate until it was acquired by
the Mackenzies. He had two sons :
THE SINCLAIRS OF FOKSS. 131
1. David, who married Janet Murray, daughter of The sinciairs of
Murray of Pulrossie, or, as he is styled in a
sasine in 1598, of Spanziedale, both in Suther-
land. He died in apparency, and without issue.
2. Alexander, successor to his father.
III. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF FORSS married, in 1608,
Margaret, daughter of George Sinclair of Mey. She is
mentioned as " Gude Wyff of Forss." They had two
sons and a daughter :
1. Katharine, who married George Innes of Oust.
IV. DAVID SINCLAIR OF FORSS died without issue,
and was succeeded by his brother, George.
V. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF FORSS married, first, Jean,
daughter of David Sinclair of Dun, and, secondly, Mary,
daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Murkle. By his first
marriage he had a daughter
Margaret, who married Malcolm Grote of Warse.
By his second marriage he had a son
John, his successor.
VI. JOHN SINCLAIR OF FORSS was three times mar-
ried ; first, to Janet, daughter of William Sutherland of
Geise, of the family of Sutherland of Forse ; secondly,
132 THE SINCLAIRS OF FOKSS.
The sinciairs of to Barbara, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar ; and,
thirdly, to Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Murray of
Pennyland. By his first marriage he had a son
George, his successor.
By his second marriage he had three sons and a
1. John, afterwards of Forss.
2. James, of Holbornhead and Forss.
3. William, physician in Thurso, who married, in
1742, Barbara, daughter of Robert Sinclair of
Geise, and died in 1767. He had four sons and
four daughters, all of whom died young except,
first, Dr. William, afterwards of Freswick ;
second, Janet, who married James Mackie, an
officer of Excise, and had two sons, William and
George, and several daughters. George attained
the rank of Major- General in the Army, and had
a large family of sons and daughters, and in
1826 resided in Caen, in Normandy. One of
his sisters married John M'Kay, merchant in
Thurso, and had issue. Third, Jane, the other
surviving daughter of Dr. William Sinclair,
married Allan Robertson of Tarrel, Captain
in the 42d Regiment. He was afterwards in
Wares, and had several sons and daughters.
By his third marriage John Sinclair had three
THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS. 133
1. Mary, who married James Campbell of Lochend, The Sinclair* of
Sheriff-clerk of Caithness. She died in 1771. Forss '
2. Jean, who married Hugo Campbell, joint-Sheriff-
clerk with his brother, John.
3. Margaret, who died unmarried in 1771.
VII. GEORGE SINCLAIR OF FORSS seems to have led
a reckless life, and in 1728 he is strongly recommended
by his brother and successor, John, to renew his addresses
to a young lady with money, " and never to give over
till you have obtained your wishes," and thus to pay his
debts, " which you 11 never pay but by marrying a person
with money." This advice the laird did not take, and he
VIII. JOHN SINCLAIR OF FORSS, half-brother of
George, was minister of Watt en in 1733, and died in
1753. He married Esther, daughter of Alexander
Sinclair of Olrig, and had a son, Alexander.
IX. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF FORSS died unmarried,
and was succeeded by his uncle, James Sinclair of Hol-
bornhead. He seems to have been somewhat eccentric
in his habits.
X. JAMES SINCLAIR OF FORSS AND HOLBORNHEAD
married, in 1737, Jean, daughter of Robert Sinclair of
Geise, Advocate, son of James Sinclair of Lybster, and
THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS.
The Smciairs of great-grandson of John of Assery, natural son of James
Sinclair of Murkle. James Sinclair of Holbornhead mar-
ried, apparently after 1775, a daughter of John Sinclair
of Scotscalder, but had no issue by this his second wife.
The social habits of the county in the early part of
last century (1737) are illustrated in an account of Hol-
bornhead's marriage, given by a gentleman who was
present: "We had a rantin bridal and a brave jolly
company of ladies and gentlemen; your sisters and the
ladies of the familie; Freswick, Brabster, Scotscalder,
Assery, Thura, Lybster, Mass John Sinclair [Eev. John
Sinclair, minister of Watt en], the Frenchman [it does
not appear who he was], Mr. Harry Innes, John of
Bower, Toftkemp, etc. We danced four days out, and
drank heartily, and thereafter went home with the young
wife, where we renewed our mirth to a height."
James Sinclair had three sons and two daughters :
1. Robert, a Captain in the Army ; afterwards of
2. William, an Army Surgeon, who died at St. Dom-
ingo, in 1794, unmarried.
3. James, afterwards of Forss.
1. Catharine, Mrs. Campbell.
2. Elizabeth, who married Mr. John Bain, who was
Tacksman of Dale in 1782.
XI. JAMES SINCLAIR OF FORSS, third son of James
Sinclair of Holbornhead, succeeded his father. He served
THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS. 135
as Lieutenant in the Army ; married Johanna, daughter The smciairs of
of George M'Kay of Bighouse, and had four sons :
2. George Lewis, W.S., of Dalveoch, died 1878, with-
out issue, aged 75.
3. William, Captain in the Army, died unmarried.
4. Hugh, died unmarried in Australia.
And five daughters :
1. Jean^ died unmarried.
2. ^Eneasina, married Mr. Stevenson, and had issue.
3. Louisa, married Captain Hector Macneill, and has
He was succeeded by his eldest son, James.
XII. JAMES SINCLAIR OF FORSS, TWELFTH LAIRD,
married his cousin, Jessie, daughter of William Sinclair
Wemyss of Southdun, and had issue, thirteen sons and four
daughters, of whom eight sons and three daughters sur-
vived him. He died at Forss, 1st March 1876, aged 73.
His children were
1. James, Lieutenant-Colonel, B.A., died, unmarried
2. Henry, died in India, unmarried.
3. George William, died in Australia in 1876, and
left two sons and several daughters.
136 THE SINCLAIKS OF FORSS.
TheSinclairsof 5. Charles.
6. Ramsay, left no issue.
8. Garden Octavius, died 1883, and left a son.
9. William, died 1878, left no issue.
10. Albert, died young.
11. John, died 1876, unmarried.
12. Frederick, died 1879, unmarried.
13. Wellesley, died young.
2. Janet, died young.
4. Louisa, died 1883.
The following account of the Sinclairs of Forss is
taken from a MS. of the late William Sinclair of
Freswick, written apparently about 1770.
Many pretend just now to call the legitimacy of this
family (of Forss) in question : Who do it now but such
whose family's ly under an imputation of spuriousness
not easily to be wipt out, with the most of which I 'd
hold no argument, as being bastards of yesterday. Such
circumstances as they think seem to favor their assertion
are easily acounted, from the method of their first outset,
a manner that they despise, but which in the opinion of
those who will judge with candour and propriety, adds a
lustre to them not here to be paraleled, as it is evident
that even in that unpolished time, when nothing but the
THE SINCLALRS OF FORSS. 137
tyes of blood were regarded by others, our progenitor The Smciairs of
bravely stood forth in support of his friend's family,
neither valuing the connexion he had with Lord C.
(Caithness), or the effects of the fury of his followers. At
a time when from Lord S.'s (Sutherland's) minority he
had little hopes of assistance, and reward far distant, he
could have no other motive than that of a generous
friendship for Lord S. and an indignation at G. E. of C.
(George, Earl of Caithness) devilish intentions against
Lord S.'s family. But to proceed to our intended narra-
tive, 'tis not to be wondered at if we consider family
accidents, that they had no patrimony. William (the
second Earl of Caithness) died fighting for his country ;
his son John might have done something *for David, but
as they both fell together in Orkney, where his interest
or love for his brother led him (we are not to enter on
the merits of the expedition) ; the tye of cousin-german
was not strong enough, thought young William and
George; he accordingly offered his service to Lord S., who
accepted of them.
1. DAVID SINCLAIR, second son of William, Earl of
Caithness, married a daughter of Sir Urquhart of
Cromarty. He fell with his brother, Earl John, in an
insurrection in Orkney, and left a son
2. WILLIAM, who inheriting the active spirit of his
father, on Earl C. denying him his friendship, appealed
138 THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS.
The sinciairs of to Earl Sutherland, who gave him a tack on his estate in
Caithness, and made him his overseer oy chamberlain.
After Lord S.'s death, Lord C. intended attacking his
lady at Dunrobin. William got account of this, and
posted thither with intelligence. The lady only asked him
not to follow his chief; he promised he would not, and after-*
wards raised and headed the men on her estates in Caith-
ness, gave battle to Lord C., and routed him. After the
expiration of her son's minority, he had a charter, dated
Scrabster Castle 1560, signed by Lord S., Countess of
Errol, his lady, and Robert, Bishop of Caithness, for
sundrie lands therein particularly mentioned ; and he is
therein designed after the preamble of the charter, " viro
honorabili Gulielmo St. Clair propter fidelitatem," etc.
'Tis to be imagined that such people as Lord S. and R. S.
(Robert Stuart), the king's brother, would know what he
had a right to. He married a daughter of Murray of
Pulrossie, a then flourishing family in Sutherlandshire,
and by her left issue
3. DAVID, who had lands in Thurso East, and died
there without succession. Forss was possest after by his
4. ALEXANDER, who married Margaret, daughter of
Sir Sinclair of Mey. He was one of the lairds from
Caithness brought up a surety for Lord Caithness after
his burning Sandside's corn-yard ; he insisted for a back-
bond from the Earl, which he would not give, and which
THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS. 139
led the others into a belief of there being no necessity for The sinciairs of
it ; he told them when he was turned out as insane, " I 'm
the fuil the day ; mony o' ye w'd wish y'ed been so or this
day yomon ; " this happened literally, for the others paid
the forfeiture of their obligations which Lord C. did not
relieve them of. Among many who suffered was Bruce of
Stanstill. He, A. S., had two sons, David, who died in
A.S.'s lifetime, and
5. GEORGE, who carried on the line of his family.
He married a daughter of Sinclair of Dun, by whom he
had a daughter, married to Grote of Warse, of whom
Malcolm Grote, Esq., is descended. In his time the
Mercat of Dun was transferred from Cross-Kirk to Dun ;
he next married a daughter of James Sinclair of Murkle,
by whom he had issue, one son, John ; he was a very-
weak man, and she very vain and designing ; she gave off
all the thirlages, and 'tis said got a head-dress for allow-
ance to build a miln at Brims : she married Sutherland of
Giese, and did everything against her son ; and to hide
her and her husband's iniquity forced the son to marry a
daughter of Giese's, by whom he had a son, George, who
succeeded ; and George was succeeded by John, eldest son
of John by a second marriage with Barbara, daughter of
Sinclair of Rattar. By John's third marriage to Elizabeth
Murray, daughter of Pennyland, there remains no issue-
male. This John married a daughter of Sinclair of Olrig,
and left one son, Alexander, now of Forss.
140 THE SINCLAIRS OF FORSS.
The sinciairs of JOHN SINCLAIR OF FORSS above mentioned as married
to Barbara, daughter of Sinclair of Rattar, left two other
sons, James and William.
James of Holbornhead married Jean, second daughter
of Robert Sinclair of Giese, Advocate, and has issue :
Lieutenant Robert Sinclair, 63d Regiment of Foot.
William Sinclair, Surgeon 34th Eegiment of Foot.
William Sinclair, M.D., married Barbara, third
daughter of the above Robert Sinclair of Giese, Advo-
cate. He died 27th July 1767, leaving issue one son-
William St. Glair, Senior of King's College, Edin-
burgh, and late of King's and Marischal's College
Note. On this Pedigree it is to be observed :
Firstly. That, while there is a general concurrence in
the fact that the ancestor of the family was a David
Sinclair, there is no evidence that William, second Earl
of Caithness, had a son of this name.
Secondly. The charter of Forss in 1560 was granted
by John, Earl of Sutherland, and his wife, Eleanor, to
David Sinclair of Dun, his son, William, and other sons
in succession. This David Sinclair died in 1560, and
Earl John lived till 1567, when he left his eldest son a
minor, no doubt; but the charter of 1560 could not
have been for services rendered to him. Earl John him-
self was also a minor in 1529 when his father died, and
THE SINCLAIRS OF FOKSS. 141
possibly the charter of 1560 might have been granted to The sinciairs of
David Sinclair for services rendered to him. But, on the
other hand, according to the pedigree, David Sinclair, the
alleged son of Earl William, was killed in Orkney in 1529.
In 1561 Earl John granted to William Sinclair a precept
admitting him a vassal in Forss.
Thirdly. William Sinclair's wife was certainly Janet
Urquhart, and not Janet Murray, as appears from a
sasine in their favour. David Sinclair, son of William,
married Janet Murray of Pulrossie.
THE SINCLAIES OF ACHINGALE
The Sinclairs of I. WlLLIAM SINCLAIR, FIRST SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE
AND NEWTON, was the son of Alexander Sinclair of
Sixpenny or Sixpennyland. Of what family Alexander
Sinclair was is somewhat uncertain. He has been sup-
posed to have been of the Sinclairs of Dun, but it is more
probable that he was of the Sinclairs of Assery and
Lybster, and that he was a son of William Sinclair of
Hoy, whose eldest son was named Alexander, and of
whom there is, otherwise, no particular account. Alex-
ander Sinclair married, in 1697, Beatrice, only daughter
of George Sinclair, second son of James Sinclair, first of
Lybster, and she and her husband, on the supposition
that the latter was the son of William of Hoy, stood in
the relation of cousins. By this marriage Alexander Sin-
clair had several sons and daughters, among whom were :
William, mentioned in 1733, as second son.
Margaret, eldest daughter, who married in 1722
Alexander Calder of Achingale.
THE SINCLAIRS OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON. 143
II. WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE, married in The sinciairs of
1738 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Dun-
beath. Sir James had acquired the right of reversion of the
wadsets of Achingale, held by the Calders ; and about 1738
or 1740, he had redeemed the lands, which he thereafter
sold to William Sinclair, by whom a Crown charter was
expede in 1752. William Sinclair had a son and two
III. ALEXANDER SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE, who was
a merchant in Jamaica, succeeded his father, and was
infeft in 1768. He died without issue.
IV. JANET SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE succeeded her
brother, and died unmarried in 1783, and was succeeded
by her sister, Margaret.
V. MARGARET SINCLAIR OF ACHINGALE married, in
1798, Alexander Sinclair, a son of Alexander Sinclair,
tenant in Houstry, Halkirk, who had been for some time in
Jamaica. In 1804 they sold the lands to William Sinclair
of Freswick for 7000. There was no issue of the mar-
riage, and, so far as known, the family of Sinclair of
Achingale is extinct.
THE SINCLAIRS OF LYBSTER, REAY.
The sinciairs of BEFORE the rise of the Sinciairs of Lybster, in
Lybster, Reay. T _
Latneron, there were ISinclairs of Lybster, in Reay,
dating from at least 1636. Their origin is uncertain,
but it is conjectured that they may have been the
.descendants of Henry Sinclair, who died about 1614, a
natural son of John, Master of Caithness, and who got
from his brother, the Earl of Caithness, a wadset of
Downreay and part of Lybster. Or possibly this family
may have been of the Sinciairs of Dunbeath, who held
Downreay and other lands in Reay.
In 1636 there is mention of DAVID SINCLAIR OF LYB-
STER and, in 1638, of WILLIAM SINCLAIR OF LYBSTER, who
then appears as witness to a deed by Oliver Sinclair of
Spittal, son of Richard of Brims, and grandson of William
Sinclair of Dunbeath. David and William were probably
brothers, each inheriting a portion of Lybster. William
had a daughter, Margaret, who, as heir to her father,
executed a renunciation, in 1648, in favour of her cousin,
James Sinclair of Lybster.
David Sinclair of Lybster had two lawful sons :
1. James, fiar of Lybster in 1637, who died between
THE SINCLAIRS OF LYBSTER, RE AY. 145
1648 and 1661. He married Margaret Macleod, The smciairs of
and had a son and a daughter : David, who is y s
mentioned down to 1670; and Barbara, who
married Donald Campbell, Elder in Thurso.
2. Robert, who with consent of his brother, James,
married, in 1640, Barbara, daughter of George
Sinclair in Downreay, the brother of Richard
Sinclair of Brims, and the son of William Sinclair
THE SINCLAIRS OF HOY AND OLDFIELD.
> Master of Berriedale, granted, in 1630, a wadset
field. of Hoy to one WILLIAM SINCLAIR, who held also the
lands of Cairdscroft, Oldfield, and Hallo wtoft, near
Thurso. This William Sinclair is a different person from
William Sinclair of Hoy and Scotscalder, and is probably
" William Sinclair in Thurso East," who is mentioned in
the proceedings against the Earl of Caithness and others
for the forcible abduction, in 1668, of William M'Kay
of Scourie. 1 By his wife, Katharine Anguson, William
Sinclair had two sons :
1. James, fiar of Hoy in 1676, and in Hoy in 1700.
He married Elizabeth Sinclair, who, in 1730, is
described as relict of James Sinclair of Oldfield.
2. William, Commissary of Caithness, who married
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of James Innes of
Sandside. He had two sons :
1. William, who got from his grandfather, in
1690, a disposition to Oldfield, Cairdscroft,
and Hallowtoft, which he disponed to his
brother in 1729.
1 M'Kay, p. 366.
THE SINCLAIKS OF HOY AND OLDFIELD. 147
2. Robert, Hector of Bulfen, in Essex, who, in The sinciairs of
1731, disponed Oldfield, Cairdscroft, and field. &n '
Hallowtoft to William Innes of Sandside.
James Sinclair of Hoy and his wife disponed the
wadset of these lands to Sir George Sinclair of Clyth,
through whom it came into the hands of his nephew,
William Sinclair of Hoy and Scotscalder.
THE MANSON-SINCLAIRS OF BRIDGEND.
I. THE ancestor of the Hansons of Bridgend was
Alexander Manson, merchant in Wick, who, in 1681 and
1685, sat for that burgh in the Scottish Parliament ; and
in 1693 was Commissioner for the county. In 1690 he
purchased the estate of Watten from Lord Breadalbane
for about 1952 sterling. He acquired Flex from the
Baynes; and in 1698 he purchased from Coghill of
that Ilk the lands of Coghill, which he had previously
held in wadset. He married Isabel Hay, and appears to
have had several children. He was succeeded by his son,
II. GEOKGE MANSON OF BRIDGEND married, first,
Katharine, daughter (it is supposed) of John Sinclair of
Rattar, and, secondly, a daughter of Sir Robert Dunbar of
Northfield. He died in 1 749, and had three daughters :
1. Isabel, who died unmarried.
2. Margaret, who was served heir to Isabel in 1742.
Reference is made to the " Notes " on the Dunbars of
Northfield, as to George Manson's marriage to Miss
THE MANSON-SINCLAIRS OF BRIDGEND. 149
Dunbar. If any such marriage took place, George The Manson-
Manson was twice married, as there is no doubt that he
married Katharine, fourth daughter of John Sinclair of
Rattar, and "sister of Freswick," that is, of William
In October 1702 George Manson settled his estate on
his daughters, Isabel and Margaret, who seem to have
been then his only children born, and it is thought that
their mother was Katharine Sinclair, and their father's
first wife, as his marriage to Sir .Robert D unbar' s daughter
does not appear to have taken place earlier than 1728,
and was probably considerably later. 2
III. SIDNEY MANSON OF BRIDGEND married William,
son of George Sinclair of Barrock, and had a son and a
1. Robert Manson Sinclair.
1. , who married Mr. Bogie, and whose only
daughter, Catharine, married John Rose, Sheriff-
Substitute of Caithness, on the death of her
cousin-german, Elizabeth, Mr. Rose's first wife.
IV. ROBERT MANSON OF BRIDGEND married Isabel,
daughter of John Sinclair of Assery. She died in 1779,
and he died about 1790. He was of very convivial
1 Vide William Sutherland of Forse's 2 Vide Answers for Miss Sinclair of
evidence in Dunbeath Reduction case, Southdun to Petition of .Robert Manson -
and statement by Alexander Sinclair of Sinclair, 1781.
150 THE MANSON-SINCLAIRS OF BKIDGEND.
The Hanson- habits, and " Brigend's Bowl/' famed in his own time as
ever in need of sugar, whisky, or water, thereby calling
for constant additions, is still locally " a Bowl of renown."
In 1788 the estate was judicially sold, and was purchased
by Sir Robert Anstruther for 12,450. Robert Manson
Sinclair had three sons alive in 1772, and five daughters :
2. George, a Lieutenant in the army, who was served
heir in 1782, cum beneficio.
3. Robert, who was a writer in Edinburgh.
Of the daughters there is no information except as
regards two :
1. Catharine, who died unmarried.
2. Elizabeth, 1 the second daughter, who was the first
wife of John Rose, Sheriff- Substitute of Caithness,
and Collector of Customs at Thurso, and had
1 Contract of Marriage, October 1772.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
I. THE descent of this family from that of WILLIAM,
EARL OF SUTHERLAND, who died in 1370, is unquestioned, lands of Forse -
although there are conflicting statements among genealo-
gists as to the immediate descendants of that Earl. On
10th November 1345 he obtained a charter from King
David ii., " Willelmo comiti de Sutherland et Margaretse
sponsae suas sorori nostrae carissimse." According to
Douglas, who follows Sir Robert Gordon, he was the
great-grandfather of Robert, Earl of Sutherland, and of
his brother, Kenneth, ancestor of the Sutherlands of Forse.
In the Sutherland Peerage case, 1771, Captain George
Sutherland of Forse, a claimant to the dignity, averred
his ancestor, Kenneth, to have been the son of this Earl
William, founding on a charter, in 1408, of the three
davoch lands of Nottingham, granted by Mariot, daughter
and co-heiress of Ranald, Lord Cheyne, with consent of
Andrew of Keith, her son, " Kenatho de Sutherlandia
filio quondam Willelmi comitis Sutherlandise." It is
certain that Kenneth Sutherland was brother of Earl
Robert, and that he received from him, in 1400,
Drummuy, Backies, and Torish, in Sutherland.
152 THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
The Slither- Nottinghame, Nothingham, or Noddingham, as it
lands of Forse. . . i ... . ,
is variously written, is mentioned as early as 1272,
when there was a Canon of Caithness styled " Henry of
Kenneth Sutherland married the daughter and heiress
of Keith of Forse, and the family style then became
" Sutherland of Forse." He was succeeded by his son,
II. JOHN SUTHERLAND OF FORSE.
III. EICHARD SUTHERLAND OF FORSE was served heir
to his father, John, in 1441, and was infeft in the lands
in Sutherland, granted to his grandfather, as appears by
an inquest held in 1471, at the Head Court of John, Earl
On 24th October 1451, Richard Sutherland granted
a bond to the Chaplain of St. Andrew's Chapel in Golspie,
in the following terms :
" Be it made kend to all men be yer present Letters Me
Richard of Sutherland of Forse to half giffen and grantyt and be
yer present Letters giffis and grantis fourtie shilling of silver of
usual! monie of Scotland zherly of annual rent of the mealis of the
Toune of Drommy in Sutherland fra me and myn ayris for ever-
more to ye perpetuall Chaplane of Saint Andrewis Chapell of
Golspy als frely quietly peaceably and honorably as ony annual-
rent is giffyn to ony Kirk or Chappell within the Kynryk of
Scotland for and to pray for me and the soulis of my forbearis
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE. 153
and successouris forontyn ony agane callyng or revocatioune of The Suther-
me or myn ayris and that attour giff it hapnys me or rnyn lands of Forse *
ayris to cum to the contrar of ye foresaid gyfft as God forbyde we
do I charge ye bishop of Cathness as he wyl answer to Almighty
God to curse and to enterdyt me and myn ayris till we cum to full
satisfaction and amendyng to Saint Andrew and to the Chaplane
perpetuale of Golspy. In Wytness of ye quhilk thyngis becaus
I had no Sele proper of myn awyn I haff procuryt with instaens
the Sele of an honorable man Wyllam of Sutherland of Berry-
dale sone and apparand ayr to Alexander of Sutherland of Duffhous
to be set and appendyt to thir letters at Dunrobyn the twenty
four day of October the zheir of our Lorde a thousande four
hundreth fyfftie and one zheiris befor yir witness John Eiil of
Sutherland Marg* Baize his Spous Sir Donald Cormackson, Kobert
Henryson of Innerboll Thomas Eobertson of John Park
Gillane, Henry of Hillam, John Androwson mare of fier of the
Erll of Sutherland and dievress others."
In the " Origines Parochiales " this bond is erroneously
stated to have been granted by Robert Sutherland of
IV. JOHN SUTHERLAND OF FORSE succeeded his father,
Eichard. In 1505 King James iv. 1 granted him a
charter of the farm and teinds of Backies.
He had a son, Eobert, who died before him, leaving
three sons, Richard, William, and Alexander.
V. RICHARD SUTHERLAND OF FORSE made up a title
1 18th May 1471, Inquisition.
154 THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
The Suther- to his grandfather, John, 1 and, dying without issue, was
succeeded by his brother, William.
VI. WILLIAM SUTHERLAND OF FORSE married, in
1558, Janet, daughter of William Sinclair of Olrig, and
died without issue in May 1564. In September 1563
Queen Mary granted to him and his wife, Janet Sinclair,
a charter of lands in the Glen of Dunrobin.
Of William Sinclair of Olrig no other notice is found.
The Sinclairs of Olrig, who flourished in the seventeenth
century, were of the Mey family, the first of the name
having been George, fifth son of Sir James of Canisbay.
In 1540, 2 and down to 1564, we find William Sinclair,
Chaplain, Rector of Olrig, and latterly Vicar of Latheron,
a son of Henry Lord Sinclare. There was also, in 1542, 3
a William Sinclair, son of William, second Earl of Caith-
ness, but concerning him there are no particulars.
VII. ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND OF FORSE 4 made up
a title to his brother, William, and was succeeded by his
VIII. DONALD SUTHERLAND OF FORSE had a son and
a daughter :
1. Alexander, his successor.
1. Margaret, "Lady Dun," wife of David Sinclair of
1 P. of C., 10th November 1546. 3 Legitimation, 1542.
2 Legitimation, 1540. 4 P. of C., 24th January 1574.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE. 155
Dun. After his death she married Charles
CaldeU of Lynegar. By her first marriage she lands of Forse *
had a daughter, Jean Sinclair, who married
George Sinclair of Forss.
IX. ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND OF FORSE was, in
March 1602, 1 served heir-male and of entail to his grand-
uncle, William, in the lands of Drummuy, Backies, and
Torish, and he seems to have died before 1 645. 2 He had
1. James, fiar of Forse, his successor.
2. John, in Rangag, ancestor of the Sutherlands of
3. Adam, who is mentioned in a charter to James by
his father as " meo filio legitimo."
1. Janet, who married, in 1621, Francis, second son
of James Sinclair, first of Murkle, by whom she
had a son, James, who died without issue.
2. Elizabeth, who married, in 1643, William Sinclair
of Dun, and had no issue.
X. JAMES SUTHERLAND OF FORSE got a charter from
his father in 1633, and in the same year he married
Janet, 3 eldest daughter of Hugh Gordon of Ballone, in
the parish of Dornoch. Janet Gordon 4 was the great-
grand-daughter of Adam Gordon, Dean of Caithness, son
1 Retour, 1602. 3 Contract of Marriage. Died 1612,
2 P. of C., by Earl Marischal, of Forse, set. 82.
8th November 1594. 4 Died 1529.
156 THE SUTHEKLANDS OF FORSE.
TheSuther- of Alexander, first Earl of Huntly. Her grandfather
was John Gordon of Drummuy, 1 which had formerly
belonged to the Forse family. James Sutherland died
before 1655, and in that year his widow, " Lady Notting-
ham," married William Rorison or Henderson, wadsetter
of Wester Nottingham, by whom she had issue. Vide
Henderson of Gersay.
James Sutherland had several sons and five daughters
1. George, his successor.
2. Adam, " brother-german of George."
In a sasine, dated 27th September 1661, mention is
made of Hugh and Robert, as "brothers" of George of
5. Major Alexander, who, according to a MS. pedigree
in the possession of General Pope, is mentioned
as of Earnside in 1641, as having sold it in 1643,
and as having married Jean Campbell. In this
pedigree Robert is stated as third son, and Hugh
is not named.
1. Jean. 2
3. Elspeth or Elizabeth, who married, in 1663, John
Sutherland of Ausdale, 3 with consent of her
1 Gordon's History.
2 Bond of Provision, 23d January 1652.
3 Contract of Marriage, 28th November 1663.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE. 157
brothers, George and Robert. In 1669 she The suther-
niarried James Sutherland of Langwell.
XI. GEORGE SUTHERLAND OF FORSE made up a title
to his grandfather, Alexander, as his father had been
infeft on a disposition in his favour, to be hold en of his
father, Alexander Sutherland. 1 He married Jean, eldest
daughter of Robert Gray of Skibo, the cousin of his
grandmother, Janet Gordon. The Grays of Skibo are
said to be descended from Andrew, Lord Gray, who died
in 1514, and whose great-grandson, George Gray of
Skibo and Sordell (who died in 1629), married Janet,
daughter of John More Gordon of Embo, and niece of
Hugh Gordon of Ballone. Of this marriage there was a
son, Robert Gray of Skibo, who was father of Jean Gray.
Her provision, in security of which she was infeft in
Forse, in 1660 and 1661, was 200 merks and 8 chalders
George Sutherland of Forse had four sons :
1. George, his successor.
2. Robert, his immediate younger brother, who is
mentioned as in Wester Nottingham and
Achastle. He is afterwards styled of Achin-
arras, on his marriage, in 1696, to Esther
Sutherland, daughter and co-heiress of Langwell,
1 Pr. of Cl. by Earl of Caithness, 20th February 1660.
158 THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
The suther- who, as widow of William Budge of Toftingall,
lands of Forse.
liter ented these lands.
3. William, also styled of Wester Nottingham, and
of Giese, which he purchased in 1691 from Lord
Breadalbane. He appears to have been twice
married first, to Katharine Sinclair ; and,
secondly, about 1684, to Mary, daughter of Sir
James Sinclair of Murkle, and widow of George
Sinclair of Forss. After his second marriage,
his wife being liferented in Forss, he was styled
" of Forss."
By his first marriage he had two sons and a daughter,
viz. William, fiar of Giese, Adam, and Jane or Janet,
who, in 1695, married John Sinclair of Forss.
4. Captain Alexander Sutherland, who was styled of
Burrigill, and who appears from 1687 to 1693.
In 1728-30 there resided at Breckachy, on Dunbeath
estate, a Hugh Sutherland, who appears to have been
factor for Sinclair of Dunbeath, and who is mentioned in
1721 as " brother-german to the laird of Forse." It is
improbable that he can have been the same Hugh who
is mentioned in 1661, as brother of George of Forse, and
it is concluded that he was a son of this George Suther-
land, eleventh of Forse, and the brother of the succeeding
George, the laird of Forse in 1721, who succeeded to the
lands in 1706. Hugh Sutherland, in Breckachy, had a
son, John. There is no further account of this branch of
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FOBSE. 159
XII. GEORGE SUTHERLAND OF FORSE succeeded his The suther-
lands of Forse.
father, and had
1. Francis, fiar of Forse, in 1720, who died without
2. John, afterwards of Forse.
3. Katharine, who married William Sinclair of Fres-
wick, 2 with consent of her mother, Elizabeth
Sinclair. In a pedigree of the family by Mr.
Hughes, George Sutherland's wife is named
Jean, of the family of Dun, but in the original
contract of marriage of her daughter Katharine,
it is certain that her name was Elizabeth. 3
XIII. JOHN SUTHERLAND OF FORSE married ^Emilia,
daughter of John Sinclair of Ulbster. 4 She survived
him, and died in 1789. John Sutherland is described
by a contemporary as having been a gentleman of very
universal knowledge, who employed himself much hi
reading and epistolary correspondence, drank a moderate
glass of wine with his friends, and seldom exceeded the
bounds of discretion in drinking. He was of a sedate
rather than a jocular turn of mind. He had two sons
and four daughters :
1. George, his successor.
2. John Campbell, afterwards of Forse.
1. Harriet, who married Colonel Sutherland of the
1 P. of C., 27th July 1706. Barrock Charter-chest.
2 Contract of Marriage, 26th October 1724. 4 Crown charter, 1740,
160 THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
The suther- Scotch Brigade, Dutch Service, and died without
lands of Forse.'
2. Elizabeth, who married George Sinclair, W.S.,
second son of James Sinclair of Durran, and had
a son, Lieutenant- Colonel John Sutherland Sin-
clair, Royal Artillery, who had issue.
3. Mary, who married Captain William Maclean of
the 40th Regiment, and had three sons and
four daughters. One of the daughters, Jane,
married Captain John Henderson of Aimster
and Castlegreen, and had issue one son, Major-
General William Henderson of the Royal
Artillery, who is unmarried, and four daughters,
who all died unmarried.
4. Katharine, who married Professor Williamson of
Glasgow University, and had issue.
XIV. CAPTAIN GEORGE SUTHERLAND OF FORSE was
served heir to his father in 1765, and died unmarried in
1773. 1 In 1760 he was Lieutenant in the 87th Regi-
ment, and in the same year he was appointed Captain in
the Earl of Sutherland's Highlanders, in which he served
Captain Sutherland was a claimant for the dignity of
Earl of Sutherland, as the nearest collateral heir-male of
the ancient Earls of Sutherland, preferably to Sir Robert
Gordon, and to Elizabeth (afterwards Duchess Countess
1 Retour, 5th August.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE. 161
of Sutherland), all the collateral branches, who, in 1514, TheSuther-
or subsequently, were nearer to him and his family, la
XV. JOHN CAMPBELL SUTHERLAND OF FORSE was
retoured heir to his brother in 1776. He married Mar-
garet Munro, and died in 1828, leaving three sons
3. Captain Francis, who is married, and has issue.
XVI. JOHN SUTHERLAND OF FORSE died unmarried,
on 28th February 1846, in the twenty-sixth year of his
age. 1 He served for some time as Cornet in the 9th
Lancers, and afterwards in the 56th Foot as Lieutenant.
XVII. GEORGE SUTHERLAND, NOW OF FORSE, mar-
ried Miss Sheppard, and has issue. 2
In the London Times, in 1871, there appeared a
notice of the death, on 13th May, at Bernard Street,
Russell Square, of Charlotte Mary, wife of James Robert
Judge, daughter of the late Captain Norman Campbell
of the 71st Regiment, and " great-grand-daughter of
George Sutherland of Forse." On 17th June Mr. Judge,
on being written to by General Henderson, replied, " My
wife always told me that her father's mother was a
daughter of the George Sutherland of Forse who con-
1 Retour, 16th May 1832. 2 Retour, 26th January 1848.
162 THE SUTHERLANDS OF FORSE.
The suther- tested the Sutherland peerage, and who was declared by
Lord Mansfield, delivering the judgment of the House
of Lords, to have proved his pedigree as heir-male ; but
the peerage being a female fief, went to his niece, the
daughter of the then late Earl. Of the truth of this
my wife had no doubt, or she would have said so.
I received your note last Monday, and should have
answered it at once had I not hoped, by waiting a few
days, to be in possession of my wife's pedigree, for which
I had written to Mrs. Sharpe, my wife's cousin, who is
the daughter of Captain Donald Campbell, and of one of
the Digby family. Upon receipt of the pedigree, should
I obtain further information, I shall do myself the
pleasure of communicating it to you." No further com-
munication was received from Mr. Judge. Captain
Sutherland had certainly no legitimate issue, nor, in so
far as known, had he any family.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL.
THE modern estate of Langwell was formerly known
as " Berriedale," and was possessed by two families ofweii.
Sutherlands. Those of the first family, descended from
John Begg, son of Nicolas, Earl of Sutherland, were
styled " Sutherlands of Berriedale," and the other family,
whose immediate progenitors were the Sutherlands of
Forse, descended from Kenneth, a younger brother of
John Begg, were known as the " Sutherlands of Lang-
well." Berriedale originally belonged to the Cheynes,
and it, together with Duffus (Dove House), in Morayshire,
was acquired by the Sutherlands through the marriage of
one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Ranald, " Lord
Cheyne," to Nicolas Sutherland, brother to William, Earl
of Sutherland. From the Sutherlands the lands came,
also by marriage, into the family of Oliphant ; and they
were thereafter acquired by the Caithness family of
Sutherlands. In the seventeenth century the estate then
known as Langwell was acquired from Lord Breadalbane
by William M'lan or Sutherland, grandson of Alexander
Sutherland of Forse.
Mr. Calder has a story of a " William Sutherland of
164 THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL.
The suther- Berrieda]e, a young man of gigantic stature," who
well!* accompanied John, Earl of Caithness, in his disastrous
expedition to Orkney, in 1529, and who, he says, was
proprietor of Berriedale, and ancestor of the Brabster
family. In 1451 there was a William Sutherland of
Berriedale, the son and apparent heir of Alexander
Sutherland of I)uffus, and whose second son, William, was
laird of Quarrelwood. Quarrelwood had also a son,
William, who was fifth Baron of Duffus, and his son and
heir, William, was killed at Thurso in 1529, that being
the same year in which, according to Calder, William
Sutherland of Berriedale was slain in Orkney. But even
if there really had been a William Sutherland of Berrie-
dale in the Orkney expedition, he was not an ancestor of
the Sinclair-Sutherlands of Brabster, for, beyond ques-
tion, their Sutherland connection is derived from the
Forse branch of the Sutherlands of Langwell.
ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND, ninth laird of Forse,
who succeeded his father in 1602, had a son, John, in
Rangag, a township on the estate of Forse. John Suther-
land had at least two sons, William and David, of whom
the elder seems to have been William, commonly called
"M'lan" (son of John), and in 1660 he and his father
were joint tacksmen of Langwell. In 1664 William
Sutherland obtained a wadset on Langwell from the Earl
of Caithness; in 1691 he got further wadset rights, in-
cluding therein the lands of Eisgill, in favour of himself
THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANG WELL. 165
and his son, James, from Lord Breadalbane ; and in the The Suther-
same year they acquired an absolute heritable right to well!
these lands. Thus William M'lan or Sutherland was
the first Sutherland of Langwell.
David, the second son of John Sutherland in Rangag,
is designed "of Langwell," and he may have been a
wadsetter of these lands. He seems to have had several
children, but we find notice only of his " eldest son," John,
who was his executor, and who in 1678 granted an as-
signation in favour of James Sutherland of Ausdale, his
cousin-german, of a bond for 600 merks which had been
granted by his grand-uncle, James of Forse, to his " good
sir," John in Rangag, and by him assigned to his son,
David, the father of John Sutherland.
I. WILLIAM SUTHERLAND or M'!AN had several
1. James, his eldest son and successor.
2. Adam, in Langwell, who married Janet, daughter
of Donald Henderson, sometime in Sibster, there-
after in Achalibster, and his wife, Elizabeth
Sinclair, the grand-daughter of James Sinclair of
Borlum and Thura. His eldest son, James, mar-
ried, in 1703, Beatrice, daughter of James Sinclair
of Lybster. His second son was John ; and he
had a daughter, Esther, who married, in 1716,
Benjamin Henderson in Achalibster.
3. David, in Ausdale, the third son of William Suther-
166 THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL.
The suther- land, married twice. By Catharine Poison, his
lands of Lang- *
wel1 - first wife, he had two sons, William, wadsetter of
Westerloch, and first of that family, and Angus.
These two sons are described as his eldest and
second sons by Catharine Poison, in a bond of
provision by their father, dated in 1697, by which
he assigns to them 2000 merks, part of 4000
merks due to him by his elder brother, James of
Langwell. David Sutherland's second wife was
Mary Sutherland, of a family of Sutherlands,
tacksmen of Latheron. By her he had a daughter,
Elizabeth, who married, in 1720, Donald Calder
of Strath. One of the witnesses to her contract
of marriage was her relative, " Francis Suther-
land, fiar of Forse."
4. George Sutherland, in Ausdale and in Braehig-
lish, is mentioned as the brother of David in
5. Anne, the only daughter of William Sutherland,
in so far as is known, married, first, John Innes of
Oust, and, secondly, Alexander Calder of Achin-
gale. She had a son, John Innes, to whom his
uncle, James Sutherland of Langwell, was tutor-
dative, and a daughter, Marion Innes, who was
married in 1703, with consent of her mother and
her mother's then second husband, to John Cal-
der, son of Alexander Calder in Winlass. For her
tocher she had 2800 merks liferented by her
THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL. 167
mother, and which was in the hands of James The suther-
Sutherland of Langwell. ^eii. S C
II. JAMES SUTHERLAND OF LANGWELLS, alias " Meikle
James," had no less than four wives.
In 1669 he married his cousin, Elspeth, daughter of
James Sutherland of Forse, and widow of John Suther-
land of Ausdale, and she having had the liferent of this
place, Jame^s Sutherland was after his marriage designed
" of Ausdale." By this marriage he does not seem to
have had any issue.
His second wife was Anne, daughter of Patrick
Sinclair of Ulbster, and widow of Francis Sinclair of
Stirkoke. By her he had a daughter :
Esther, afterwards of Langwell.
His third wife was Elizabeth, daughter of William
Sinclair of Dunbeath, by whom he had no family.
He married, lastly, Anne, daughter of Robert Sinclair
of Durran, and had by her two daughters :
1. Anne, afterwards of Risgill or Swiney.
2. Janet, who married George Sinclair of Brabster.
This marriage was the first connection between
the Sinclairs of Brabster and the Sutherlands.
James Sutherland died in 1708, and was succeeded in
Langwell by his daughter, Esther ; and in Risgill by her
III. ESTHER SUTHERLAND OF LANGWELL was twice
168 THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANG WELL.
The suther- married. 1 Her first husband was William, son of Donald
wen. Budge of Toftingall, by whom she had a son, James.
She married thereafter, in 1708, Robert Sutherland of
Achastle, immediate younger brother of George, twelfth
laird of Forse ; and he was after his marriage styled " of
Achinarras," in which lands his wife was liferented as the
widow of William Budge. She had two sons and two
1. James, her successor.
2. Major George Sutherland, Midgarty, Sutherland-
shire, who had two sons and eight daughters ;
Lieutenant- Colonel George, 15th Regiment of
Foot ; Robert ; Esther, who married Captain
William Sutherland, Shibbercross ; Janet, who
married John Gray of Jamaica ; Jane, who mar-
ried the Reverend Alexander Sage, Kildonan ;
Elizabeth, who married Joseph Gordon, Navi-
dale ; Charlotte, who married Mr. M'Farquhar
of Jamaica ; Williamina, who married Robert
Baigrie, Midgarty ; Roberta, who married Robert
Pope, Navidale ; and by a second marriage,
Janet, who married Kenneth M'Kay, Torball.
1. Margaret, married in 1732 to Alexander M'Kenzie,
younger of Ardloch, whose father, John, second
of Ardloch, was cousin-german of John, second
Earl of Cromarty.
2. Elizabeth, who married Benjamin Williamson,
second of Banniskirk.
1 Ccmtract of Marriage, 1696.
THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL. 169
IV. JAMES SUTHERLAND or LANGWELL, "a jovial, The
hearty man, who liked a glass of good claret at home and ^"n. 8
abroad, and was exceedingly merry over it," married,
in 1738, Rachel, daughter of Sir James and Dame
Elizabeth Dunbar of Hempriggs, and had a son and a
1. Robert of Langwell.
1. Elizabeth, who married, in 1761, Walter Gray, son
of Patrick Gray of Easter Lairg.
William Sinclair of Freswick, writing to Budge ^f
Toftingall in 1741, mentions that Lord Duifus, Sir
William Dunbar, Durran, and Scotscalder, had gone to
Thurso East, and that Lady Janet, believing that they
had done so, not so much out of kindness " as to get a
sett of drink " and to see how political matters were going,
made Langwell who had also arrived at the castle
landlord at dinner (Ulbster being from home), "with
orders to make an example of them." These he obeyed
punctually, so that some of the party had to be " oxter-
handed," or supported from the boat by which they
crossed the Thurso river to Bowermadden's house in
Thurso, where they lodged.
Y. ROBERT SUTHERLAND, LAST OF LANGWELL, mar-
ried, in 1762, his cousin, Anne Sinclair, heiress of
Brabster. For the issue of this marriage vide Brabster.
In 1775 Langwell was sold to William Gray, Iter
Boreale, Jamaica, Provost-Marshal of that Island.
170 THE SUTHERLANDS OF LANGWELL.
The suther- It is believed that Robert Sutherland had a brother
lands of Lang- , . .. _ .
W eii. who resided in Brecnm, but his name and history are not
In the following description of this last laird of Lang-
well, written in 1769, will be recognised the hand of the
late William Sinclair of Freswick :
"Langwell was in town at our market, or, as he
designs himself, Captain Robert Sutherland of Langwell
and Brabster, Esq. His inconsistencies you have heard
on several occasions long ere now : I shall therefore give
you an account of his procession at Fres wick's burial.
First comes himsell, mounted on a gray nag so and so
shaped, low-sized crape hat-band, and a streamer from
each cock of the back part, red coat and vest, white
breeches, mounted with black, lappels and cuffs to the
coat of that color ; on the right and left about a yard
behind him, and as much to the right and left of the line
in which he rode, two gilly-weet-feet, each with a leashed
grayhound ; then followed three old-looking footmen in
abrest of the line in which the first three stood. Captain
John Sinclair told me that he saw him at Wick, his
machine drawn by four horses of different sizes and colors,
each of his postillions in long black cloaks, hats with
cockades to 'em, hunters' whips, a sword on one side and
a pistol on the other ; furnish me with such an equipage
galloping thro' a street. I had forgot to say, in his proces-
sion at the burial, in a cold rainy day, he had his horse
covered with a net made of white, red, and green silk."
THE SINCLAIR SUTHERLANDS OF RISGILL
ON the death of James Sutherland of Langwell, in The Sinclair
1708, his second daughter, Anne, succeeded to the estate
of RisgiU. In 1717 she married Alexander Sinclair o f Swinzie '
Swinzie, now called Lochend, a property which he got
from his father, George Sinclair of Barrock, he being the
eldest son of Barrock' s second marriage to Elizabeth,
daughter of David Murray of Clairden. After Anne
Sutherland's marriage, the estate of Risgill was called
Swinzie, and the family took the name of Sutherland,
or Sinclair Sutherland. Alexander Sutherland died in
1738; leaving a son, James.
JAMES SUTHERLAND OF SWINZIE is mentioned as
being a " very facetious, entertaining man, who loved to
pass his jokes." In 1739 his mother disponed the estate
to him, and in 1743 he married his cousin-german, Jean,
daughter of John Sinclair of Durran. She was known
as " Lady Swinzie," and resided during the latter
part of her life in Thurso, where she died, a very old
172 THE SINCLAIR SUTHERLANDS OF RISGILL OR SWINZIE.
The Sinclair woman, in 1819. James Sutherland had a son and
Sutherland^ of . -. , , , ,
Kisgiii or three daughters :
1. Anne, who married Captain Patrick Sinclair of
3. Elizabeth, who married Benjamin Henderson,
tacksman of Clyth. The late Dr. James Hender-
son, Clyth, and several other sons and daughters,
were the issue of this marriage. Mrs. Henderson
and one of her sons perished by shipwreck in
JOHN SUTHERLAND OF SWINZIE was served heir to his
father in 1777 ; he married Margaret, daughter of Donald
Williamson of Banniskirk, and died without issue in 1789.
PATRICK SINCLAIR SUTHERLAND OF SWINZIE was
eldest son of Captain Patrick Sinclair of Durran, and
was served heir to his uncle in 1789. In the same year
Swinzie, Bisgill, and Munsary were sold for 5500 to
Lieutenant John Gordon, Sutherlandshire, who was the
first of the Gordons of Swinzie.
1 James Sutherland built the present house of Swiney about 1750.
THE MO WATS OF BUCHOLLIE AND
THE family of Muat or Mowat is said to have origin- The Mowats of
ally borne the name of Montealt, from lands so designated Freswick. an
in Flint, North Wales ; and the name occurs in the Rag-
man Roll and other documents as "de Monte alto."
They are supposed to have settled in Scotland in the
reign of David L, the principal family having been that
of Buchollie, now. called Hatton, near TurrifF, in Aber-
The date of the Mowats' first connection with Caith-
ness is uncertain. The earliest writ extant concerning
the lands of Freswick is a charter granted by King
Robert Bruce to one of this family; and between 1406
and 1413 the Duke of Albany, as Regent of Scotland,
confirmed a wadset of Freswick and Aukingill, granted
by William Mowat of Loscraggy to his son John the
same person who, in 1419, was killed at the chapel of
St. Duthus, at Tain, by Thomas M'Kay of Strathmore.
Loscraggy was in the barony of Buchollie, in Aberdeen.
There is an indenture, dated in 1495, between Alexander
Mowat of Loscraggy, as nearest and lawful heir of
174 THE MO WATS OF BUCHOLLIE AND FRESWICK.
The Mowats of William of Clyne, his cousin, and William of Clyne, son
Freswick. of the said William, whereby Alexander Mowat confirms
to William, the son, a right granted to him by his father
of Knock-clyne, Clyne-leish, etc., in Sutherland; and
William confirms to Alexander the lands of Cultalord,
Drynie, and others in Ross, now the estate of Cadboll.
Buchollie Castle, a short distance from the house of
Freswick, of which there still exist considerable and
picturesque ruins, was the ancient residence of the
Caithness Mowats, and it is supposed to occupy the
same site as Lambaburgh, which was a fort and strong-
hold in 1142. The name of the castle and the family
title were, no doubt, derived from the Aberdeenshire
property of the Mowats, but it does not appear that their
lands in Caithness, which form the modern estate of
Freswick, went by the name of Buchollie.
From the time of William Mowat, in 1413 to 1522,
there is an interval during which no mention is found of
the Laird of Buchollie. In the latter year, however,
Magnus Mowat of Loscraggy and Freswick was infeft in
In 1548 Patrick Mowat of Buchollie entered into a
contract with Malcolm Halcro of that Ilk, in Orkney, for
the marriage of their son and daughter.
In 1549 Patrick Mowat sold, under reversion, the
lands of Tofts, Overtyre, and Aukingill, in the barony
of Freswick, to Alexander Mowat in Tofts ; and in
1554 Patrick is mentioned as "Lord of Buchollie and
THE MO WATS OF BUCHOLLIE AND FRESWICK. 175
Freswick." Whether this Patrick was the son ofTheMowatsof
Magnus Mowat of 1522 does not appear. Patrick
Mowat had a son, Patrick, and probably a daughter.
In Hay's " Sinclairs of Roslyn," John and Patrick
Sinclair of Ulbster are said to have been sons of " Mar-
garet Mowat, daughter of James Mowat of Buchollie and
Lucy Gordon, daughter of the Laird of Gight." William
Sinclair, their father, died in 1573, and if Margaret
Mowat's father was James, he may have been also the
predecessor and father of Patrick Mowat of 1549 and 1554.
PATRICK MOWAT OF FRESWICK AND HARPSDALE was
served heir to his father in these lands in 1565, and
appears on record until 1593. He is, no doubt, the
Patrick Mowat of Buchollie who is mentioned in the
Spalding Papers, referred to by Calder, as witness to a
testamentary deed by Andrew, Earl of Errol, dated at
Slains Castle, 3d October 1585.
Patrick Mowat married Christian Ogilvie, and had
two sons and a daughter :
1. Isabella, who was the first wife of William Bruce
of Stanstill, and died in 1601, as appears from
the inscription on a gravestone, originally placed
inside the kirk of Canisbay, and now standing in
the kirkyard, wherein she is named as "Lady
Stanstill, daughter of the Laird of Buchollie."
176 THE MO WATS OF BUCKOLLIE AND FRESWICK.
TheMowatsof MAGNUS MOWAT OF FEES WICK obtained a charter
Bucnollie and ., _ .
from his father in 1602. He married Isabella Cheyne,
relict of John Kennedy of Kermuick, Aberdeenshire, a
family which held possessions for some time in the island
of Stroma. In 1605 Magnus sold his lands of Harpsdale
to the Earl of Caithness. He died in 1 634, and appointed
his son-in-law, Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath, to be his
executor. He left 2000 merks to Thomas Mowat, son of
James of Ardo ; and he directed Eoger Mowat, advocate,
to give titles to his brother and successor, James. He
had two daughters :
2. Christian, who was, in 1601, infeft in Loscraggy
and other lands. She married Sir John Sinclair
of Geanies and Dunbeath.
JAMES MOWAT OF FKESWICK obtained a precept of
clare-constat in 1634 as heir to his brother, Magnus.
In 1634 there was an agreement between Patrick
Mowat of Buchollie and James Mowat of Freswick, by
which the latter became bound to dispone Freswick to
his grandson, Magnus.
KOGER MOWAT OF BUCHOLLIE, Advocate, obtained a
Crown charter in 1635; and in 1644 a charter of novo-
damus, on which he was infeft in 1645. Probably these
charters relate only to the Aberdeenshire estate, and it
is thought that this Koger Mowat of Buchollie was the
THE MOW ATS OP BUCHOLLIE AND FRESW1CK. 177
same who ioined Montrose as a Royalist, and who was The Mowats of
slain at the battle of Alford in 1645. In 1629 he had
apprized Swinzie and Brabstermyre from the Mowats,
who were then the owners of these properties, and in
1644 he is designed as heritable proprietor of these lands.
SLR GEORGE Mo WAT OF BUCHOLLIE was, in 1653,
served heir-male to his father, Roger, in the lands of
Freswick, Burnside, Harlie, Middletown, Oakengill,
Strupster/and others, in the parish of Canisbay, with the
patronage of the kirk of Canisbay, which belonged to the
family in 1610, and which had all been united with the
Aberdeenshire estate into the barony of Buchollie.
Although it is presumed that Roger Mowat and his
son, Sir George, were descended from Patrick Mowat of
Buchollie, it is not known that Patrick was the son of
James Mowat of Freswick, and it is probable that the
estate of Freswick had come to be possessed by a branch
of the family separately from Buchollie. It may thus
have been only the superiority of the Freswick estate
which was included in the titles made up by Roger
Mowat and his son, Sir George.
MAGNUS MOWAT OF BUCHOLLIE, the grandson of
James Mowat, was the last Mowat of Freswick. In
1651 he married Jean, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of
Latheron. In 1661 Freswick was sold to William Sin-
clair of Rattar, grandson of Sir John of Greenland, and
it has ever since belonged to the Sinclair family.
THE MO WATS OF BRABSTERMYRE AND
The Mowats of BRANCHES of the family of Mowat possessed Brabster-
niyre early in the sixteenth century ; and Swinzie in the
I. The first MOWAT OF BRABSTERMYRE seems to have
been GILBERT MOWAT, who in 1517 obtained a charter
from Keith of Inveruggie. No doubt Brabstermyre had
formed part of the estates of the Cheynes, which were
acquired by the Keiths, through their alliance by mar-
riage with the Cheynes. Gilbert Mowat was succeeded
by his son, Malcolm.
II. MALCOLM MOWAT OF BRABSTERMYRE got a pre-
cept in 1541-42 from William Keith, Earl Marischal, and
his spouse. He had a son, John.
III. JOHN MOWAT OF BRABSTERMYRE got a pre-
cept in 1583 from George, Earl Marischal. He had a son,
THE MOWATS OF BRABSTERMYRE AND SWINZIE. 179
IV. ANDREW Mo WAT or BRABSTERMYRE got a pre- The Mowats of
cept as heir to his father, in 1595, from George, Earl
Marischal. He was twice married ; first to Elizabeth
Sinclair ; and, secondly, to Elizabeth Knowles, who sur-
vived him, and who, in 1637, is designed as his relict. He
had three sons and two daughters :
1. George, who appears to have died before his father.
2. Patrick, who was a Justice of the Peace in 1634.
In 1627 Andrew Mowat and his son, George, sold
Brabstermyre and Slicklie to Sir John Sinclair of Geanies
and Dunbeath. By Sir John the estates were settled on
his nephew, John Sinclair, first of Brabstermyre. Andrew
Mowat died, it is supposed, about 1634.
I. The Mowats of Swinzie appear about 1638, when
we find PATRICK MOWAT OF SWINZIE, who married
Elizabeth Leask, and was succeeded by
II. ALEXANDER MOWAT OF SWINZIE, who married
Jean, daughter of Hugh Halcro of that Ilk.
In 1644 Roger Mowat, Advocate, appears as " heri-
table proprietor " of Swinzie, but he was only an adjudg-
ing creditor. Alexander Mowat had two sons :
180 THE MOW ATS OF BRABSTERMYRE AND SWINZIE.
The Mowats of HI. PATRICK MOWAT or SWINZIE was succeeded, in
1679, by his brother, Hugh.
IV. HUGH MOWAT OF SWINZIE is mentioned as late
as 1687 and 1698. In the latter year he sold the lands
to George Sinclair of Barrock, and they are now known as
THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL.
IN a manuscript "Genealogie of the Lairds of Tofting- The Budges of
gall," in the possession of Sir Patrick Murray Threipland
of Fingask, 'much information is contained respecting the
earlier history of the family of Budge. In this manuscript
it is stated, that, " Whence they came or took their name
is unknown for the most part, but by common tradition
it is affirmed, by all that know the family, that they are
descended of the family of Macdonald, and that the first
of this family that came to Caithness fled thither for
slaughter, and changed his name from Macdonald to
Budge. The late Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, chief
of that name, affirmed that Budge of Tofbingall are of his
family, as he pleaded the same with Donald Budge, then
of Tofbingall, in the year 1685, at the general convention
of gentlemen and others for apprehending the Earl of
Argyle, and offered to prove the time of their cadency by
authentick writs in his charter-chest." This Sir Donald
Macdonald was the third baronet of the old Macdonalds
of Sleat, now represented by Lord Macdonald.
Hugh Macdonald of Sleat, who was third son of
Alexander, tenth " Lord of the Isles," is said to have had
182 THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL.
The Budges of a son, Donald, who was called " Gallach," from his having
been fostered in Caithness, by his mother's relations of
the Clan Gunn, to which she belonged. Donald Gallach's
grandfather, Alexander, died in 1449, and as the Budges
had certainly settled in Caithness towards the end of the
fifteenth century, their descent from the Macdonalds, and
their connection with the county, through Donald Gallach,
are not improbable.
The " Genealogie " appears to have been written about
the end of the seventeenth or beginning of the eighteenth
century, and consists principally of an inventory of the
older family writs, several of which are stated to be
" not legible by reason of the badness of the write,
length of time, and ill-keeping." On the margin is
written, in an old hand, date 8th February 1703, the
following list of lairds :
1. Nicholas, 1400-4. 8. James, 1600.
2. Nicholas, 1400-15. 9. William, 1600.
3. Magnus, 1400-21. 10. William, 1600.
4. Sir Henry, 1400-37. 11. Donald, 1600.
5. Nicholas, 1500. 12. William, 1700.
6. Magnus, 1500. 13. James.
7. William, 1500.
The earliest writ noticed is the notarial double of a
charter granted by " Henricus de Sancto Claro, Comes
Orchadiae," to Budge, of tenements in Wick,
but it bears no date. A charter granted by one or other
THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL. 183
of the two Henrys, Earls of Orkney, would carry the The Budges of
Budges back to between 1379, the date of the creation f Toftinga11 '
the first Henry St. Glair, as Earl of Orkney, and 1420,
when the second Earl of the name died. In the " Origines
Parochiales " (vide Olrick) there is mention of Magnus
Buge, Eector of Olrick in 1455 ; and Magnus is a family
name among the Budges.
The first legible charter is one said to have been
granted to Nicholas Budge of Toftingale, in July 1403,
but as the granter was William St. Glair, Earl of Caith-
ness, it is evident that the correct date is 1503, for since
the first Earl of Caithness of that name did not acquire
the earldom till 1455, and since the second Earl, William,
succeeded in 1476 and died in 1513, the charter must
have been granted by the latter. This charter would
seem to have been granted to Nicholas No. 1 in the list,
who appears to have really flourished till 1504. A like
correction in the century falls to be made in the. three
subsequent names on the list. Commencing, then, with
the charter in 1503, we have
I. NICHOLAS BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL. The list gives
two of this name, but as Magnus, the third on the list,
appears to have got a precept from John, Earl of Caith-
ness, dated 21st February 1515 (in MS. 1415), as heir
to Nicholas, who flourished till 1515, we may assume
that Nicholas No. 1 is the first laird in regard to whom
we have written evidence, and that
184 THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL.
The Budges of II. NICHOLAS BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL may have been
Toftingall. . *
III. MAGNUS BUDGE got a precept as heir to, and
most probably as the son of, Nicholas No. 2, of the three-
penny land of Toftingall and tenements in Wick. There
is also a charter by " Alexander," Bishop of Caithness,
" Magno Budge de Wick," of a croft and tenements in
Wick, dated at Wick, 10th January 1421, according to
the MS., but there was no Bishop Alexander at this
date, and supposing the correct date to be 1521, the then
Bishop was Andrew, and not Alexander. Magnus was
succeeded by his son, Sir Henry.
IV. SIR HENRY BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL was served
heir to his father, Magnus, on 19th November 1537 (in
MS. 1437). He was treasurer of the Church revenues
of Boss, and was doubtless a priest, to the members of
which order the title of " Sir " was frequently given.
Various treasurers of Ross were so styled.
On 29th April 1538 Sir Henry entered into an agree-
ment with Anna Wemyss, his father's " relict," but
apparently not his own mother, whereby she sold her
right of terce in the lands of Toftingall for seven merks
Scots yearly. He appears to have been succeeded by
V. NICHOLAS BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL, who held a
wadset of Brabsterdorran in 1567, and who occurs in
THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL. 185
1573 as sitting on an inquest. In what degree of rela- The Budges of
5 . Toftingall.
tionship he stood to Sir lienry is not known.
In the list of lairds we have no fewer than five, viz.
Magnus, William, James, William, and William, between
Nicholas (No. 5) and Donald (No. 11), who was in posses-
sion in 1627. But of the existence of these five there is
no written evidence, and it is not very probable that in
the short space of fifty-four years there could have been
so many proprietors in succession.
VI. DONALD BUDGE or TOFTINGALL was laird in
1627. He had a brother, William, who is the same
William Budge who was in Bualglass, on the estate of
Forse, in 1627, who was afterwards in Harpsdale. He
had Mybster and Tormsdale in 1660, the two latter being
acquired from the Earl of Caithness for 5180 merks.
There is, or there was, about the beginning of this
century, a local tradition that a house at Dale, called
" the Tigh-na-tuir," or House of the Tower, was built by
one of the Budge family whose father bore the name of
"William Ballugais." The word Ballugais is not Gaelic,
and in the absence of any other explanation of its import,
it is thought that " William Ballugais " was " William
Bualglass," or William Budge in Bualglass, who was
afterwards of Mybster or Myribster and Easterdale. The
builder of the House of the Tower would consequently
be William's son, Donald. This house can scarcely have
been the existing house of Dale.
186 THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL.
The Budges of Donald Budge had three sons and a daughter :
ToftingalL .. ?.
1. William, ms successor.
2. Alexander in Harpsdale, whose eldest son, Henry,
it is supposed was the Henry Budge who married
Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of South-
dun, who was his cousin.
3. Nicholas, who was in Toftingall from 1651 to 1682.
1. Margaret, who married in 1651, Alexander Calder,
in Strath of Bylbster.
VII. WILLIAM BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL died without
issue, about 1675.
William Budge of Easterdale and Mybster, the brother
of Donald of Toftingall, married Katharine Murray, pro-
bably of the Pennyland Murrays, and had a son, Donald
Budge, styled of Easterdale. About 1683, after the
death of his cousin-german, William Budge of Toftingall,
Donald Budge appears to have adjudged that estate;
and thereafter it and the tenements in Wick passed into
the Easterdale and Mybster branch of the family, instead
of descending to the younger brothers of William Budge
VIII. DONALD BUDGE, when fiar of Easterdale and
Mybster, married, in May 1672, 1 Elizabeth, second
daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun and his wife,
Jean, daughter of John Sinclair of Ulbster.
1 Contract of Marriage.
THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL. 187
In the churchyard of Watten the following inscription The Budges of
appears on the gravestone of this lady :
" Here lies the Dust of ane Honest Discreit and Ciuill Gentle
Woman Elizabeth Sinclair Meistress of Toftingall who departed
from Tyme to Eternitie on the day of August 1685."
William Budge of Toftingall was a party to the con-
tract of marriage.
After the acquisition of Toftingall, by Donald Budge,
about 1683, the family estate comprehended, as it still
does, Toftingall, Easterdale, Mybster, and Spittal.
Spittal was apprized by Donald Budge about 1672 from
Murray of Pennyland, who held it under a contract of
wadset in 1648, from John Sinclair of Brims.
Donald Budge had three sons and two daughters :
1. William, his successor.
2. David, tutor of Toftingall, who married Janet,
daughter of John Forbes, Commissary of Caith-
3. James, Writer to the Signet, 1738.
1. Jean, eldest daughter, who married Hugh M'Kay
2. Katharine, who married Alexander Sinclair of
IX. WILLIAM BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL married, in
1696, Esther, daughter of James Sutherland of Langwell,
and had a son, James.
188 THE BUDGES OF TOFTINGALL.
The Budges of X. JAMES BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL was in minority at
the time of his father's death, and his uncle, David, took
the management of the estate as "Tutor of Toftingall."
James Budge married Janet, daughter of John Campbell
of Castlehill. In 1751 he executed an entail of the
estates. He died without issue, and was succeeded by
his cousin, William.
XI. WILLIAM BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL, the son, it is
thought, of David Budge, was a Writer to the Signet,
and died 1766. He had two sisters, Jean, who married
Richard Murray of Pennyland ; and Isabella, who married
Patrick Calder of Lynegar. He married Katharine
Sinclair, who survived him, and is supposed to have been
his cousin, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Olrig. ( Vide
Sinclair of Olrig). He had two daughters :
XII. JANET BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL died unmarried,
and was succeeded by her sister, Grizzel.
XIII. GRIZZEL BUDGE OF TOFTINGALL also died un-
In 1799 the succession devolved, under the entail,
upon the descendants of Jean Budge and Richard Murray
of Pennyland, in the person of their daughter, Janet
Murray, heiress of Pennyland and Toftingall. Vide
Murray of Pennyland,
THE HURRAYS OF PENNYLAND.
IT is probable that the Caithness branch of the The. Hurrays of
Hurrays came from the Horays or Hurrays who settled
in Sutherla*ndshire at a remote period, and who figure
largely in the feuds which form the history of that county
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The prin-
cipal Caithness families of the name are those of Penny-
land, Clairden, and Castlehill, all of them nearly allied.
I. The first " HURRAY OF PENNYLAND " was WILLIAM
RONALDSON or HURRAY, who, in 1549, got a charter from
the Bishop of Caithness of tenements in Thurso, and who
got in 1559 a charter of Penny land to himself and his
wife, Isobel Dundas. Pennyland had previously belonged
to the Bishopric, and when, in 1557, Bishop Robert gave
a grant of Bishop lands to John, Earl of Sutherland,
there is mention of "the lands, not named, of John
H'Ewen and William Ranaldson, except the crofts of
Scrabster." In 1560 William Ranaldson of Pennyland
was witness to a charter of the lands of Forss and Baillie,
granted by John, Earl of Sutherland, to David Sinclair of
Dun, and in the same year he was witness to a charter,
190 THE HURRAYS OF PENNYLAND.
The Hurrays of also by the Earl, of the lands of Westerseat, near Wick,
to Hutcheon Murray, alias Pyper, from whom came the
name of " Pyper's croft," as the lands were afterwards
and still are called.
William Ranaldson or Murray had two sons :
1. Walter, his successor.
2. John, in Clairden. In 1568 his father resigned in
his favour tenements in Thurso, and mentions
him as his second son.
II. WALTER or WALTER WILLIAM MURRAY or
PENNYLAND had a son, John, who is named along with
him in a charter in 1590.
III. JOHN MURRAY OF PENNYLAND got a charter in
1609 from Alexander, Bishop of Caithness, to himself in
liferent and to his son, William, in fee. In this charter he
is designed as son of Walter Murray. He had two
1. William, his successor.
IV. WILLIAM MURRAY OF PENNYLAND was succeeded
by his brother, John.
V. JOHN MURRAY OF PENNYLAND obtained in 1630
from John, Bishop of Caithness, a precept of dare constat
as heir to his brother-german, William. In 1663 he had
THE HURRAYS OF PENNYLAND. 191
a wadset of Scotscalder. In 1674 there is a charter by The Hurrays of
him and his wife, Margaret Murchison, and his name is of
frequent occurrence in the kirk-session records of Thurso
as an elder. He had five sons and two daughters :
1. James, his successor.
2. Richard, designed of Scotscalder, in virtue of the
wadset right to his father of which he got an
assignation. Richard also got a disposition from
his father in 1663 to a wadset of Lieurary, and
he was one of the Commissary deputes of
Caithness. He appears to have been twice mar-
ried, namely, to Jean Cunningham, ^and to Jean,
daughter of Smith of Braco. The disposition in
1663 to the wadset of Lieurary is in favour of
himself and Jean Cunningham, his spouse, and
John, their eldest son ; and in December of the
same year there is a charter of confirmation by
the Bishop to him and Jean Smith. His children
were five sons and three daughters : John ; Pat-
rick, afterwards of Pennyland ; James ; Richard,
a merchant in Leith (who had a son, James, and
two daughters, Jean and Anne) ; David, in Clair-
den ; Mary, who married the Rev. James Oswald ;
Margaret, who married the Rev. George Oswald ;
and Elizabeth, who married John Sinclair of
3. David, of Clairden.
4. John, a Writer in Edinburgh in 1667.
192 THE MURRAYS OF PENNYLAND.
The Murray s of 5. Francis.
1. Katharine, who married, in 1670, George Gray,
Minister of Loth; and, in 1674, William Gum-
ming, Minister of Halkirk, by whom she had
four daughters : Elizabeth, who married George
Sinclair of Barrock; a daughter, who married
a Mr. Bruce ; Barbara, who married, in April
1703, Patrick Sinclair of Brabsterdorran ; and a
daughter, who married Gumming of Craigmiln,
Morayshire, whose daughter, Rachel, married
William Sinclair, of the Customs, Thurso, of the
2. Barbara, who married, in 1656, James Innes of
VI. JAMES MURRAY is designed OF PENNYLAND in
1670. He was twice married, first to Elizabeth, daugh-
ter of Captain John Wemyss of and Janet Murray ; l
and, secondly, to Elizabeth Willson, who was his relict in
By his first marriage he had a son and three daugh-
1. James, designed as his eldest lawful son, who
seems to have died without issue.
1. Elizabeth, who married William Campbell, Sheriff-
clerk of Caithness. 2
1 Contract of Marriage and Disposition by John Murray of Port of Ormlie,
1659. 2 Contract of Marriage, 1684.
THE HURRAYS OF PENNYLAND. 193
2. Janet, who married Patrick Sinclair of Southdun. TheMurraysof
3. Margaret, who married Evander M'lvor of Loch-
By his second marriage he had an only daughter,
Katharine, who married, in 1690, James Murray of Glair-
James Murray of Penny land was succeeded by Patrick,
eldest son of Richard Murray of Scotscalder and his wife,
Jean Smith. Scotscalder had a son, John, who is men-
tioned as the " eldest son " of him and Jean Cunningham,
but he may only have been eldest son of that marriage,
and may have died before the succession to Pennyland
had opened by the death of James Murray.
VII. PATRICK MURRAY OF PENNYLAND married
, daughter of James Cunningham of Geise. In 1700
he acquired the right of reversion of the wadset of Scots-
calder, held by his grandfather, John. From 1696 to
1698 he was one of the commissioners for the county
in the Scottish Parliament; and in 1701 he entered into
a feu-contract with Ulbster in regard to Scotscalder. He
had seven sons and two daughters :
1. James, his successor.
Pennyland appears to have been adjudged by James
Murray of Clairden and Alexander Sinclair of Barrock,
and to have been sold to James Murray for 500, the
rental being then 25. Mr. Sinclair states that about
the middle of last centuiy the usual selling price of land
194 THE MURK AYS OF PENNYLAND.
The Murrays of in the county was twenty years' purchase of the free
Pennyland. , n
2. Richard, who seems to have taken up the succes-
sion on the death of his brother, James.
1. A daughter, who married James Fall, 1 a merchant
in Dunbar, and whose daughter, Janet, married
Sir John Anstruther of Anstruther.
It has been supposed that Patrick Murray had another
daughter who married M'Kay of Strathy ; but the only
marriage of the Pennyland Murrays with that family, so
far as is known, was that of the daughter of Richard
Murray, Patrick's son, to Hugh M'Kay, second of
VIII. JAMES MURRAY or PENNYLAND was served heir
to his father in 1729. He married Helen, daughter of
William Miller of Mugdrum, and appears to have had no
issue. He was dead in 1731.
IX. RICHARD MURRAY OF PENNYLAND married Jean,
sister of William Budge of Toftingall, W.S., and had a
son and two daughters :
THE HURRAYS OF PENNYLAND. 195
1. Patrick, his SUCCeSSOr. 1 The Hurrays of
2. Barbara, first wife of Hugh M'Kay, second of
Strathy. In 1721 there was a bond to her and
her four sons.
X. PATRICK MURRAY OF PENNYLAND died without
issue, and was succeeded by his sister, Janet.
XI. JANET MURRAY OF PENNYLAND, and heiress of
Toftingall under the entail of that estate by James
Budge, married, in 1761, Dr. Stuart Threipland of
Fingask, and these properties are now possessed by her
grandson, Sir Patrick Murray Threipland Budge of
Fingask and Toftingall, Baronet.
1 In 1762 James Murray, described a second son of Richard Murray. No
as Surveyor of the Customs, resided at mention is made of his having children.
Pennyland with his wife, Barbara, Bishop Forbes, who does ample justice
daughter of James Murray of Clairden, to his hosts, mentions that be passed
and two sisters, and in January 1770 the 5th of August 1762 at Pennyland,
he died, and was buried in Pennyland "and most elegantly was he entertained
Chapel. Who he was is uncertain, and there."
it is conjectured that he may have been
THE HURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN
TheMurraysof JOHN MURRAY, " IN CLAIRDEN," Was the S6COnd SOD
Castiehiii. of William Ronaldson or Murray, first of Pennyland. In
1568 he got a charter to tenements in Thurso on the
resignation of his father. He had a son, William.
I. WILLIAM MURRAY was styled "or CLAIRDEN." In
1614 he got a charter from Alexander, Bishop of Caithness,
as eldest son and heir of John, of tenements in Thurso, to
himself and his wife, Agnes Dalmahoy, in liferent, and to
Ranald, their son, in fee. He had two sons :
II. JOHN MURRAY, IN CLAIRDEN, was served heir to
his father, William, in 1655, in "William Ronaldson's
tenements" in Thurso. He died about 1656, and had a
son, James, who is mentioned in 1658 as eldest son, but of
whom there is no further account ; the next of the family
who appear in connection with Clairden being David
III. DAVID MURRAY, STYLED OF CLAIRDEN, was third
THE HURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL. 197
son of John Murray, fifth of Pennyland, and married Janet, The Murrays of
daughter of John Cunningham of Brownhill and Giese. castiehm.
He was a person of considerable note in his time, and
was holder of wadsets on Dunnet, Swinzie, Greenland,
Carsgo, and Aimster, and although he was styled of
Clairden, it is supposed that he had only a wadset of
these lands. He had three sons and two daughters :
1. John, who is mentioned as " eldest son " in a bond
to him by his father in 1675, and who appears
to have died before his father.
2. James, afterwards of Clairden.
1. Elizabeth, who married, first, William Innes of
Isauld ; and, second, George Sinclair of Barrock.
2. Jean, who married William Innes, Writer to the
Signet in Edinburgh. 1 Her father was then
dead, and her mother, Janet Cunninghame, and
her brother-german, James, are parties to the
David Murray died in 1686, and was succeeded by
his son, James.
IV. JAMES MURRAY OF CLAIRDEN was married three
times first, to Katharine, only daughter of James
Murray of Pennyland, 2 by whom he had no issue ;
secondly, to Anne Cunningham, by whom he had a
1 Contract of Marriage, 12th May 2 Contract of Marriage, 6th Feb-
1693. ruary 1690.
198 THE HURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL.
The Hurrays of daughter, Barbara, who married (it is supposed) James
Clairden and j. i /
Castiehiii. Murray, surveyor of customs, Thurso, one of the Penny-
land family; and, thirdly, to Margaret Sinclair, styled
"Lady Clairden," 1 daughter of George Sinclair of
Barrock, and his wife, Anne Dunbar of Hempriggs. By
this last marriage James Murray had two sons and five
1. George, his successor.
2. David of Castiehiii. Between 1750 and 1754 he
purchased from James Budge of Toftingall the
lands of Garth, which he afterwards excambed
with James Sinclair of Durran for Stangergill,
now part of the estate of Castiehiii. He married
Margaret, daughter of Harry Innes of Borlum,
and had three sons and a daughter namely,
Alexander, in North Calder ; John, who died
unmarried ; Captain James ; and Barbara, who
married Dr. Liddell, and had a son Andrew, and
two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. Mar-
garet Liddell married Major George Innes,
brother of James Innes of Thrumster, and had
two sons, William, Lieutenant- Colonel in the
Honourable East India Company's Service, and
Andrew, who both died unmarried. Elizabeth
Liddell married Colonel Zulche, and had no
1. Jean, who married the Eeverend George Traill of
1 Contract of Marriage, 22d and 23d September 1702.
THE MURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL. 199
Hobbister, Minister of Dunnet, and had issue. The Hurrays of
T7" 7 HT '11 Clairdenand
Vide Traills. castiehm.
2. Anne, who married the Reverend James Brodie,
Minister of Latheron, and had issue. Vide
3. Elizabeth, who married the Reverend James
Oswald, Minister of Dunnet, and had issue.
4. Janet, who married Professor Morton of St.
Andrews, and had no issue.
5. Margaret, who married first, David Sinclair of
Southdun ; and, secondly, John Gibson, Sheriff-
V. GEORGE MURRAY OF CLAIRDEN married his cousin,
Jean, eldest daughter of John Sinclair of Barrock. He
died in 1752, and was survived by his wife, who lived to
an old age, and had two sons and five daughters : *
2. Alexander, a surgeon, who died unmarried. He
was known by the name of " Tarras."
1. Barbara, who married William Brodie, Sheriff-
substitute of Caithness, and son of James Brodie,
Minister of Canisbay. She had no issue.
2. Anne, who married Thomas Stedman (or Steeds-
man, as signed by himself in 1766), and had two
sons and two daughters: (l) Dr. William Sted-
1 Discharge by them, 1766.
200 THE HURRAYS OF CLAIRDEN AND CASTLEHILL.
The Hurrays of man, who had three sons, George, John Gordon,
CastieMii? nC an d William, and three daughters, Lucretia
(Mrs. Bushby), Anne, and Catherine ; (2)
George. Mrs. Stedman's two daughters were
Jane and Margaret, who both died at Thurso,
3. Margaret, who died unmarried.
THE Cunninghams of Caprington in Ayrshire, and The Cunning-
of Broomhill, date from the time of King David Bruce.
and they became connected with Caithness early in the
seventeenth century. In 1624 we find John Cun-
ningham, Admiral Depute and Sheriff of Caithness, in
the occupation of Geise, Ormlie, and Brownhill, and
married to a lady of the family of Rattar.
The first Cunningham of Broomhill was John, second
son of William of Caprington, who got in patrimony
from his father the lands of Broomhill, which was the
designation of this branch of the family, and continued
to be so until the original family estate of Caprington
was acquired by John Cunningham, the eminent advocate,
who was created a baronet in 1669.
JOHN CUNNINGHAM, FIRST OF BROOMHILL, is said by
Douglas to have been succeeded by a son, William, who
is said to have got a Crown charter of the lands in 1629,
and to have married, first, Janet, daughter of Patrick,
first Lord Lindores, and by her to have had three
1. Jean, married to Sinclair of Dunbeath.
202 THE CUNNINGHAMS.
The Cunning- 2. Margaret, married to Innes of Borlum.
3. A daughter, married to Mr. Symmers.
According to the same authority, William Cunning-
ham's second wife was " Elizabeth, daughter of William
Sinclair of Rattar, descended of a second son of the Earl
of Caithness, and now (1768) claiming the title of Earl
of Caithness, and grand-aunt of the present laird of
Rattar." The laird of Rattar and the claimant of the
title in 1768 were one and the same person, and the only
lady of the Rattar family who married into the family of
Cunningham was Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John
Sinclair, first of Rattar, and the great-great-grandaunt
of the laird of Rattar, who claimed and obtained the title
of Earl of Caithness in 1768 ; but it will be seen that her
husband was not William Cunningham. By this second
marriage, however, Douglas says he had three sons and
four daughters :
1. Sir John, his heir.
2. James of Geise.
3. Adam, a Captain in the Army.
1. Janet, who married Murray of Clairden.
2. Isobell, who married Sinclair of Telstane.
3. Anne, who married Bruce of "Itam."
4. Mary, who married Stewart of Ascog.
In the pedigree of the Cunninghams, as given by
Douglas, there is no mention of John Cunningham of
Geise and Brownhill, Admiral Depute and Sheriff of
Caithness ; but that he was in the occupation of these
THE CUNNINGHAMS. 203
lands in 1624 is shown by a receipt for rent paid by him The c
in that year; and that he was Sheriff in 1625 is shown
by a judicial ratification signed before him at Brims on
31st March of that year; while under the designation of
John Cunningham of " Brownhill " he is repeatedly
named in deeds and otherwise down to past the middle
of the century; and in 1655 he was an Elder of the
parish of Thurso, as appears from the Session Records.
John Cunningham of Brownhill was twice married.
The name* of his first wife has not been traced, but it
is noticeable that Douglas, in his account of the family of
Lindores, says that Janet, daughter of Patrick, first Lord
Lindores, married Sir John Cunningham of Broomhill ;
while in his account of the Cunninghams he says that
this lady married William Cunningham of Broomhill.
John Cunningham's second wife was undoubtedly
Elizabeth Sinclair, daughter of Sir John, first of Green-
land and Rattar. In March 1636 Sir William Sinclair
of Cadboll brought an action against James Sinclair of
Rattar, son of Sir John, for 3000 borrowed by his brother,
John, and him for payment of his sister Elizabeths tocher
to John Cunningham of Geise, her husband. * William of
Rattar, the son of James Sinclair, and the great-grand-
father of William of Rattar, tenth Earl of Caithness, had
no daughter Elizabeth.
The designation of " Brownhill" is unmistakably
given to the John Cunningham who married Rattar's
1 Bond, 8th May 1632.
204 THE CUNNINGHAMS.
The Cunning- daughter, and who occupied Geise, and was otherwise
connected with the county ; but, as has been already
remarked, Douglas nowhere mentions any Cunningham
" of Brownhill." There is a place near Thurso and
Ormlie known as Brownhill ; but whether John Cunning-
ham acquired the designation from these lands, which he
may have possessed as he did Ormlie, or whether the
original family title was Brownhill, the " Broomhill " of
Douglas being a misnomer or misprint, cannot now be
ascertained. In a MS. Inventory of the Feus and
Papers produced by the Caithness Vassals in 1720, John
Cunningham of Geise is designed of " Broomhill" but
this is the only instance discovered of his having been
John Cunningham had by his marriages five, if not
six daughters, and five sons :
1. Jean, who married in 1632 Alexander Sinclair of
Latheron, brother of Sir John Sinclair of Dun-
beath. No other lady of the name married into
the family of Dunbeath and Latheron, and this
lady must be the same as the Jean Cunningham
of Douglas, who, as daughter of William Cun-
ningham of Broomhill, married " Sinclair of Dun-
beath." She married, in 1647, William Sinclair of
B-attar, the nephew of that Elizabeth Sinclair who
was the second wife of her father. In what
year John Cunningham's second marriage took
place is uncertain, but it was not later than 1636,
THE CUNNINGHAMS. 205
and was probably only a few years earlier, as The Cunning-
Elizabeth. Sinclair's father died in 1622, and her h
brother, James (who, as we have seen, borrowed
money to pay her tocher), had only succeeded to
the estate about 1634, on the death of an elder
brother. Jean Cunningham was thus, almost
certainly, of her father's first marriage. If she
was of his second marriage, then she and her
second husband, William of Battar, were cousins-
german. In her contracts of marriage in 1632
and 1647, and in other deeds, she is named as
daughter of John Cunningham of Brownhill.
2. Margaret, who married William Innes of Borlum.
This sister of Jean Cunningham is no doubt the
same lady who Douglas says married Innes of
Borlum, and who, according to him, was the
daughter of William Cunningham. In 1651
John Cunningham signed a bond of caution for
her in connection with the Borlum affairs, and
although she is not designated as the daughter
of John Cunningham, she must have been so if
she was the sister of Jean, who was certainly his
daughter. She seems to have considered herself-
a person of consequence, for in 1683 she writes
stating her inability to assist her son, Henry
Innes, and at the same time to maintain herself
" as becomes a person of my quality."
3. Janet, who married David Murray of Clairden.
206 THE CUNNINGHAMS.
The Cunning- 4. Isobel, who married Alexander Sinclair of Telstane.
5. Anne, who married John Bruce of Ham, no doubt
the same lady who, according to Douglas,
married " Bruce of Itam." She afterwards
married William Sutherland, styled " of Ham/'
of which she had the liferent. This William
Sutherland was a son of John Sutherland of
Little Tarbol, Sutherlandshire, and in 1712 he
disponed his whole estate and effects to his
nephew, John Sutherland of Little Tarbol.
6. Mary, who married Stewart of Ascog. She was
unquestionably the daughter of John Cunning-
ham of Brownhill.
The five sons of John Cunningham were
1. John, advocate, afterwards Sir John of Caprington.
2. James of Geise and Reaster. In 1677 he was an
Elder of Thurso. He married Barbara, styled
" Mistress of Geise," daughter of Sir James
Sinclair of Murkle, and had a son who is
designed William Cunningham of Heaster in
3. George, the third son, married Isabel Dundas.
In 1698 he was dead, for in that year Isabel
Dundas is designed, in an assignation of a bond
granted by her husband's cousin, David Sinclair
of Freswick, as " relict of umquhile Mr. George
Cunningham, brother-german of Sir John Cun-
ningham of Caprington."
THE CUNNINGHAMS. 207
4. Adam, who was in Carsgo in 1661. He is designed
as fourth son of John Cunningham, and is, no
doubt, the " Captain Adam Cunningham of
Aukingill " who was a Commissioner of Supply
in 1709. His wife was Jean Milburn.
In 1664 John Cunningham assigned a wadset held
by him and his wife, Elizabeth Sinclair, on the Rattar
estate, in favour of the following "younger children of
his second* marriage," namely, James, George, Adam,.
Alexander, and Mary. His only other children were John,
the Advocate, afterwards Sir John, who is named in this
deed as his eldest son, and his two daughters, Jean and
Margaret. Since John is referred to in the assignation
by the widow of George Cunningham as the brother-
german of her husband, he was most probably a son of
his father's second marriage. However this may be,
all the persons named were certainly children of John
Cunningham of Geise and Brownhill, though they are all
(except George and Alexander) named by Douglas as the
children of William of Broomhill. It is evident either
that there was no William of Broomhill, and that John
was the correct name of the son and successor of John,
first of Broomhill, or that, if there was a William, he had
no family, and that John of Broomhill was his brother,
as John, and not William, was undoubtedly the father
of Sir John, the ancestor of the present family of Cap-
rington. Thus Douglas is clearly mistaken in his account
208 THE CUNNINGHAMS.
The Cunning- of the descendants of William Cunningham of Broom-
hams. , .,.
John Cunningham, advocate, is repeatedly mentioned
as the son. of John of Brownhill. In 1657 he assigned a
bond to David Murray of Clairden, who had married his
sister. M'Kay says that John Cunningham was born in
Caithness and educated in Thurso, and that he was the
eminent advocate who was created a baronet in 1669.
Consequently he was the same Sir John who acquired
.Caprington by purchase after its sale by the creditors of
his cousin, Sir William of Caprington.
Of still existing families in the county connected
with the Cunninghams of Brownhill and Geise are the
Traills of Rattar ; the descendants of David Murray of
Clairden and his wife, Janet Cunningham ; and the
family of Innes of Sandside, descended from Margaret
Cunningham, " Lady Borlum."
THE CALDERS OF LYNEGAR.
THE name Calder, in its older form of Caldell, is of TheCald "<>*
considerable antiquity, and in the middle of the seven-
teenth century few names in the county are of more
frequent occurrence. In 1508 we find William Caldell
of Dun, and about the same period Donald Caldell, a
proprietor in Wick. In 1525 a charter was granted to
one Donald Caldell of lands of Dunnet and Barrock.
This was probably the same person who married Helen
Brisbane, one of the co-heiresses of considerable lands at
Reiss and Ackergill, of which they were despoiled, when
minors, by the Earl of Caithness. In 1558 Donald
Caldell executed a deed in relation to the lands of
Dunnet, and in 1563, his son, Donald of Barrock,
resigned these lands ad remanentiam in favour of George,
Earl of Caithness.
The principal families of the name were those of
Lynegar, of Strath, of Bylbster, and of Achingale and
Newton ; but there were many others, holders of small
wadsets in various parts of the county.
Of the Lynegar branch the first was probably ANDREW
210 THE C ALDERS OF LYNEGAR.
The caiders of C ALDER OF LYNEGAR, who in 1567 had a tack of Brabster-
CHARLES CALDER OF LYNEGAR was present at an
inquest in 1573.
LAURENCE CALDER OF LYNEGAR, the son probably of
Charles, died about 1629, leaving three sons :
1. Charles, his successor.
2. Laurence, who, as son to umquhile Laurence of
Lynegar, got a precept of dare-constat in tene-
ments in Dunnet, and a farthing land there, in
1634, and who, in 1636, married Janet Davidson.
He died before 1679, and had three sons
William, Andrew of Holland, who had a son
Laurence, and John.
3. John, who, as narrated in a bond to his brothers,
Charles and Laurence, in 1634, left Caithness
" to travel in foreign countries."
CHARLES CALDER OF LYNEGAR, son of Laurence,
married, before 1647, Margaret Sutherland, "Lady
Dun," widow of David Sinclair of Dun, and daughter
of Donald Sutherland of Forse. He was succeeded by
his son, Laurence.
It is probable that the Caiders of Lynegar were at
first merely wadsetters ; but in 1632 Charles Calder got
a feu-charter of the lands from William, Lord Berriedale,
THE C ALDERS OF LYNEGAE. 211
and from that date, at all events, the family were The caiders of
LAURENCE CALDER OF LYNEGAR got a disposition of
the estate from his father in 1665, under reservation of
his father's own liferent. In 1653 he married Isabel,
eldest daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun, and he
afterwards married Elizabeth Innes. In 1691-92 the
Earl of Breadalbane disponed the lands to him and
his wife in liferent, and to their son, James, in fee.
Laurence was for some time Chamberlain to the Earl of
Caithness, from whom he acquired Bowertower in 1692.
In 1661 Laurence Calder got a wadset from the
Caithness family of the feu-duties of Lynegar, and he
had from time to time various wadset rights in different
parts of the county, such as Achalibster, Achscoraclate,
By his first marriage he had four sons :-
1. William, fiar of Lynegar.
By his second marriage he had several children, of
whom the eldest was
James, to whom in 1694 he disponed Halcro and
Bowertower. 1 James sold the latter in 1717 to John
Sinclair of Barrock.
1 Vide Contract 1691-92, ut supra.
212 THE CALDERS OF LYNEGAR.
The caiders of Laurence Calder had also three daughters :
WILLIAM CALDER OF LYNEGAR married, in 1683,
Elizabeth, only daughter of Walter Bruce of Ham, and
of his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of
Latheron, third son of George Sinclair of Mey. He died
about 1698, and left a son, William.
WILLIAM CALDER OF LYNEGAR was a minor at his
father's death, and had for his curator Alexander Sinclair
of Olrig, whose father had married his mother. William
married Marjory, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of South-
dun, and had two sons :
1. Patrick, his successor.
PATRICK CALDER OF LYNEGAR married Isabel,
youngest sister of William Budge of Toftingall, W.S.
He and William of Rattar, tenth Earl of Caithness, were
cousins-german, their mothers having been sisters. He
had a son and a daughter :
1. Alexander, his successor.
2. Jean, who married Mr. Russell, but whose issue
ALEXANDER CALDER OF LYNEGAR held some office
THE C ALDERS OF LYNEGAR. 213
or employment in the Exchequer Office at Edinburgh, The caiders of
and was the last proprietor of Lynegar of this family.
He married Barbara Gray, and had three sons and two
1. Alexander, Colonel in the Madras Native Infantry,
who married Anna Bunbury, and had a son,
Francis, who married Mary Graham, and left no
issue ; and a daughter, Anna Bunbury, who
married Mr. Wall, and has issue.
2. Francis, Captain, R.N., who died unmarried in
1855. He was a gentleman of most benevolent
character, and a fountain has been erected in
Belfast to his memory.
3. Patrick, Deputy Commissary-General, who died
unmarried in 1853.
1. Isabella, who married William Sinclair of Freswick,
and who died in 1812, leaving a son, John, and
two daughters, of whom the eldest was Mrs.
Thomson Sinclair of Freswick. Vide Freswick.
2. Barbara, who died unmarried in 1870.
The late Mrs. Eliza Campbell or Grant, Thurso,
writes, in 1826, to the late William Sinclair of Freswick,
in reference to the Lynegar family, as follows : " Sir
James Calder, the father of Sir Harry and of Admiral
Calder, was Equerry to the late Queen Charlotte, and
his daughter married Admiral Hotham. I knew Sir
James, and when he heard what part of Scotland I
came from he particularly inquired for the Caiders of
214 THE CALDERS OF LYNEGAR.
TheCaidersof Lynegar, who, he told me, were a very ancient family
with whom he was connected, and had the honour of
being a younger branch of the same family. He sent for
Jean Calder (Mrs. Russell), and shewed her great atten-
tions, as did Lady Calder N and Mrs. Hotham."
THE CALDERS OF ACHINGALE AND
THERE is little doubt that the Calders of Achingale The caiders of
and Newton were nearly allied to the Lynegar and Newton.
Strath family of the same name.
In 1577 Achingale was occupied by Robert Caldell,
and from that date down to 1763 the Calders are found
as tenants, wadsetters, or feuars of Achingale, Newton,
and Banks of Scouthel. In 1629 Donald Calder of
Newton obtained a feu- charter of these lands from the
Earl of Caithness ; in 1639 he and his wife, Isabel Murray,
obtained a tack of Achingale from John, Master of
Berriedale ; and in 1665 Alexander Calder, then of
Achingale, obtained a wadset of the feu- duties payable
under the charter of 1629, and of the tack of 1639.
ALEXANDER CALDER OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON
died about 1678, and had three sons :
1. Alexander, his successor.
2. Lieutenant Donald Calder of Newton.
3. John of Strath.
ALEXANDER CALDER OF ACHINGALE married Anne,
216 THE CALDERS OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON.
The Caiders of daughter of William Sutherland of Langwell, and widow
f John Lines of Oust. He was succeeded by his eldest
ALEXANDER CALDER OF ACHINGALE AND NEWTON
married, in 1722, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander
Sinclair of Sixpenny, and had issue
1. Beatrice, who married William Henderson in
DONALD CALDER OF ACHINGALE died without issue.
BEATRICE CALDER, as heiress to her brother and
father, disponed the lands in 1763 to her uncle, William
Sinclair, in whose family they remained until 1804, when
they were acquired by William Sinclair of Freswick.
The reversion of the wadset of 1665 had come into the
hands of Sir James Sinclair of Dunbeath, and was
acquired by William Sinclair, his son-in-law.
THE CALDEES OF STRATH.
BEFORE 1649 part of the lands of Strath of Bylbster The caiders of
was feued to the heirs of Marcus Calder.
In 1651 Alexander Calder of Strath married Margaret,
daughter of Donald Budge of Toftingall ; and in 1665 the
Earl of Caithness gave a feu-charter of the whole lands
to him and his wife.
In 1680, they, with consent of their son, Alexander,
disponed Strath to Alexander Calder of Achingale.
In 1692, John Calder, brother-german of Achingale,
and his son, Donald, got a disposition of Strath. John
married Margaret Calder, and had issue :
1. A daughter who, in 1718, was wife of James Innes
in Thrumster, grandfather of the late Major James
Innes of Thrumster.
DONALD on DANIEL CALDER OF STRATH married
Elizabeth, daughter of David Sutherland of Ausdale, and
great-granddaughter of William Sutherland of Langwell.
He had two sons and three daughters :
l.*James, Collector of Excise, Thurso.
218 THE C ALDERS OF STRATH.
TheCaidersof 2. Patrick, Captain in the 64th Regiment of Foot,
Strath. , T i i o/M-r
who died unmarried in 1807.
1. Janet, who married Mr. Murray.
2. Margaret, who married Alexander Calder.
3. Emily, who died unmarried.
COLLECTOR JAMES CALDER OF STRATH had a son and
a daughter :
1. Jean, who married Captain George Swanson,
DAVID CALDER OF STRATH AND PENNYLAND sold
Strath in 1801 to William Stewart in Downreay, father
of the late General Stewart, and Penny land he sold to
Mr. Sinclair of Freswick.
THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS.
I. THIS branch of the family of Dunbar is directly The Dunbars of
descended from Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, H
Knight, son of James Dunbar, fifth Earl of Moray, and
great-grandson of John Dunbar, second Earl. He was
born about 1425, and died 10th March 1497 or 1498.
He married Isabel, daughter of Alexander Sutherland of
Duff us, who died llth November 1505. He had eight
sons and a daughter, and was succeeded by his third son,
II. ALEXANDER DUNBAR OF AULDCASH, KILBOYACH,
AND KILCALMKILL, third son of Sir Alexander, was killed
in 1498 by Alexander Sutherland of Dalred or Dirlot, in
Caithness. He married Lady Janet Sutherland, who
survived him. Sir Robert Gordon states that he married
Margaret Baillie, widow, in 1460, of John, tenth Earl of
Sutherland, which is a mistake, he having been only three
years of age at the period of this alleged marriage. He
was succeeded by his eldest son, James.
III. JAMES DUNBAR OF AULDCASH, CONZIE, KIL-
CALMKILL, AND KILBOYACH, was born about 1480. He
220 THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS.
The Dunbars of was served heir to his father in 1501, and died in 1553
or 1554. According to Douglas he married Helen Innes,
and was succeeded by a son, James, who married Isobel
Brodie, but it is proved by a deed registered at Edinburgh
in 1539-40, that he was twice married at least, his first
wife being Helen or Elen Innes, and his second wife
being Isabel Brody or Brodie, and he was succeeded by
his son, Alexander.
IV. ALEXANDER DUNBAR OF CONZIE AND KILBOYACH
married Elizabeth, daughter of John, sixth Lord Forbes
(ch. 1564), and had several sons, of whom the fifth was
William, his successor.
V. WILLIAM DUNBAR OF STRUTHERS, afterwards of
Hempriggs (of one-third of which he got a charter in
1574), is called portioner of Hempriggs in his father's
will, which is dated 25th February 1577. He married
Catherine, the daughter (and heiress probably) of John
Anderson of Struthers and Janet Gibson, his spouse, and
he died on 25th November 1624. He had four sons and
a daughter :
1. John, his heir.
1. Isobel, who married Hepburn of Inverlochty.
VI. JOHN DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS was twice married,
THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS. 221
and had by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of George The Dunbars of
cv i /TVT T -L Herapriggs.
Sinclair of Mey, a son, John.
VII. JOHN DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS, and also of
LATHERONWHEEL (which he purchased), married Anna,
eldest daughter of Andrew Fraser, Commissary of Inver-
ness, and in his contract of marriage, dated 26th Septem-
ber 1624, his father, John Dunbar, made over to him
his lands of Hempriggs " as they had been left to him
by his father, William/' John had two sons and three
1. William, afterwards Sir William.
2. Robert of Northfield, afterwards Sir Robert.
1. Janet, who married Patrick Gumming of Ernside.
2. Catherine, who married William Geddes, Minister
of Wick from 1659 to 1675.
3. Anne, who married her cousin, George Sinclair,
first of Barrock. Of this marriage is descended
the present representative of the family of Sinclair
VIII. SIR WILLIAM DUNBAR, who was created a
Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1698, was a man of consider-
able ability and local influence. In 1691 he purchased
the lands of Telstane, and changed the name to Hemp-
riggs. He also purchased Old Wick and other lands on
the south side of the water of Wick; and in 1699 he
acquired the Ackergill estates, which formerly formed a
barony held by the Keiths, Earls Marischal. He also
THE DUNBARS OF HEMPBIGGS.
The Dunbars of acquired the lands of Wick, Papego, South and North
Kilmsters, and Miln of Wenless, which before 1591 were
held by the Earl of Sutherland off the Bishop of Caith-
ness and then of the Crown, and were in that year
resigned by the Earl in favour of the Earl of Caithness.
He held a commission from the Earl of Breadalbane as
Sheriff and Justiciar of Caithness. He married his second
cousin, Margaret, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of
Latheron, by whom he had a son and a daughter :
1. Benjamin, who married Janet, daughter of Patrick
Sinclair of Ulbster, and who died before his
father without issue.
On Sir William's death without male issue the
baronetcy devolved on his brother, Robert, and the
estates, under an entail executed by himself, on his
daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth Dunbar married, first,
Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, great-grandson of
Alexander, fifteenth Earl of Sutherland, and had by
him three sons and four daughters. From her third
daughter, Lucy, who married David Scott of Scotstoun,
is descended, maternally, the present Duke of Portland.
Sir Robert having died in 1701, his widow married,
secondly, James Sutherland, second son of Lord Duffus,
who was created a baronet in 1706, under the title of
Sir James Dunbar of Hempriggs. Of this second mar-
riage there were two sons and four daughters :
1. William, born in 1708.
THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS. 223
2. James, an officer in the army, who died in Jamaica The Dunbars of
. T Hempriggs.
in 1742 unmarried.
1. Janet, who married, first, John Sinclair of Barrock,
by whom she had a son (John Sinclair of Sibster),
and a daughter; and, secondly, Harry Innes of
Borlum and Sandside.
2. Charlotte, born in 1712, who married Sir William
Sinclair of Keiss, and had two sons, Captain
Alexander, and Kennedy-Muir.
3. Elizabeth, who married Eric Sutherland, eldest son
of Kenneth, third Lord Duffus (attainted in 1715).
They had two daughters: (1.) Elizabeth, who
married, first, her cousin, Captain Alexander
Sinclair, son of Sir William of Keiss ; and,
secondly, Charles Sinclair of Olrig, by whom she
had an only daughter, Fenella ; and, thirdly, the
Reverend Mr. Rudd, Yorkshire, by whom she
had a son and two daughters. (2.) Charlotte,
who married Sir John Sinclair of Mey, and had
issue, James, afterwards Earl of Caithness.
4. Rachel, who married James Sutherland of Lang-
well, and had a son, Robert, and a daughter,
Elizabeth. Robert Sutherland married Ann
Sinclair, heiress of Brabster.
IX. SIR WILLIAM DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS married,
first, Elizabeth, only daughter of Alexander Dunbar of
Westfield. Elizabeth Dunbar was the undoubted heir of
224 THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS.
The Dunbars of line of the old family of Dunbars, hereditary Sheriffs of
Moray, descended from James, fifth Earl of Moray, of the
Dunbar line. By this first marriage Sir William had a
daughter, Janet, who married Captain Thomas Dunbar,
styled, after his marriage, " of Westfield," and descended
of the same stock as his wife. They had three sons and
two daughters : Patrick; Alexander, who died in 1782 ;
William- Henry ; Elizabeth, who married James Moodie
of Melsetter, had issue, and died in 1798 ; Mary Maxwell,
who married the Reverend Peter Nicolson of Shebster,
Minister of Thurso, and had issue, and died in 1806.
Sir William married, secondly, Jean, daughter of
David Sinclair of South Dun, by whom he had no issue.
He married, thirdly, Henrietta, daughter of Hugh
Rose of Kilravock, and had by her two sons and three
1. Benjamin, his successor.
X. SIR BENJAMIN DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS married
Janet, daughter of George M'Kay of Bighouse, and had
two sons and three daughters :
1. George, his successor.
2. Captain Robert of Latheronwheel, who died
unmarried, llth August 1857,
THE DUNBARS OF HEMPRIGGS. 225
1. Louisa, who married Garden Duff of Hatton. The Dunbars of
2. Elizabeth, who died unmarried.
3. Henrietta, who married William Sinclair Wemyss
On the death of James Sutherland, last Lord Duffus,
the title was assumed by Sir Benjamin, as heir-male
through his grandfather, Sir James Dunbar or Suther-
land, but since his decease, in 1843, it has been in
XI. SIR GEORGE DUNBAR OF HEMPRIGGS devoted
himself to country pursuits for many years, and carried
on extensive improvements on the family estates, thereby
largely enhancing their value. He added to their extent
by the purchase of part of Myrelandhorn and of the
estate of Sibster, and by the acquisition of the lands of
Tannoch in exchange for portions of his Strathmore
property. He set aside the entail executed by his great-
great-grandfather, Sir William, and died 28th August
THE DUNBAKS OF NORTHFIELD
The Bunbars of I. ROBERT DlJNBAR OF MYRELAND, AND OF NORTH-
North field and _ ... if*
Bowermadden. FIELD, BOWERMADDEN, AND LlSTER, Was S6COnd SOH OI
John Dunbar of Hempriggs and of Latheronwheel.
Having succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his
elder brother, Sir William of Hempriggs, he was styled
Sir Robert of Northfield. In the Rebellion of 1715 he
appeared with a party at the Cross of Wick, and drank
the Chevalier's health.
He seems to have been twice married. In 1675 he
married Mary, daughter of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster.
In 1708 he acquired Myreland and Quintfall from Lord
Glenorchy; and about the same period Bowermadden
and Belster were acquired by his son, Patrick. He
died in 1742, and had four sons, and two, if not three,
1. Patrick, his successor, who was the last-named
substitute in the entail of Hempriggs, executed
by Sir William Dunbar, his uncle,
THE DUNBARS OF NORTHFIELD AND BOWERMADDEN. 227
3. James. The Dunbars of
-p. .-, Northfieldand
4. JJavlQ. Bowermadden.
These three younger sons are named in the Ulbster
entail, and were doubtless of their father's marriage to
Ulbster's daughter. They are all supposed to have died
5. Marjory, who married David Sinclair of Southdun.
6. A daughter, , who married George Manson of
In certain judicial proceedings in 1781 between Miss
Katharine Sinclair of Southdun and George Manson
Sinclair of Bridgend, it is stated, in reference to Miss
Sinclair's father, David, and Bridgend's grandfather,
George Manson, that a friendship which had existed
from near neighbourhood came to be a closer connection
"by intermarriages of two daughters of Sir Robert
Dunbar." It is inferred that David Sinclair and George
Manson each married one of Sir Robert's daughters,
and of these, Marjory was the second wife of David
Sinclair. The name of the other has not been ascer-
tained, and reference is made to the notes on the Bridg-
end family for particulars regarding George Manson's
Sir Robert seems to have had a third daughter, for
in " Fasti Eccles. Scot.," David Dunbar, minister of
Olrig from 1735 to 1762, third son of John Dunbar of
Kinsorth, married Mary Dunbar, who died in 1780, and
their only son died in minority.
228 THE DUNBARS OF NORTHFIELD AND BOWERMADDEN.
TheDunbarsof II. SlR PATRICK DlJNBAR OF NORTHFIELD, BOWER-
Northfield and -r 4, . -, n
Bowennadden. MADDEN, AND LlSTER, Was twiCC mamed, first, III 1697,
to Katharine, youngest daughter of William Sinclair of
Dunbeath, by whom he had two sons, Robert and William.
In 1708, William, in a disposition to the lands of Lister,
in which his father was liferenter, and he was fiar, he is
designed as "eldest son," and in 1758 his father was
served heir in special to him; and, secondly, in 1722, to
Katharine, daughter of Joseph Brodie of Milntown,
Morayshire, by whom he had two sons and three
1. John, born in 1727, who married his cousin, Mar-
jory, daughter of David Sinclair of Southdun,
and died without issue.
2. Patrick, born in 1733, died young.
1. Elizabeth, who succeeded her father.
3. Henrietta, who died unmarried.
III. ELIZABETH DUNBAR OF NORTHFIELD AND BOWER-
MADDEN, married James Sinclair of Durran, and had
issue. Vide Durran.
THE TRAILLS OF CASTLEHILL AND RATTAR.
THE connection of this family with the county dates The Trams of
from the settlement of Dr. George Traill as minister of Rattar.
Dunnet in- 1751.
In 1581, George Traill, of the family of Traill of
Blebo, in Fife, settled in Orkney. He was twice married :
to Jean Kennedy and to Isabella Craigie. From the *
former marriage are descended the Orkney families of
Traills of Holland, Skaill, Tirlot, and Vena, and from the
latter are descended the Traills of Quendal, Hobbister,
Westness, and Weststove.
JAMES TRAIL, FIRST OF QUENDAL, was the son of
George Traill by his second marriage, and he had three
1. James of Quendal, his successor.
2. George, first of Hobbister.
3. John of Sanday.
George Traill of Hobbister had two sons :
1. James, who died in 1756.
DR. GEORGE TRAILL, THIRD OF HOBBISTER, succeeded
to that estate on the decease of his brother James in
230 THE TRAILLS OF CASTLEHILL AND RATTAR.
The Trams of 1756. Having studied for the Church, he was settled as
Castlehill and . . Jf .
Batter, minister 01 JDunnet in 1751. In 1761 he purchased
Castlehill ; in 1773 he obtained the degree of D.D. from
the University of King's College, Aberdeen, and in 1785
he died, aged 62.
In 1753 Dr. Traill married Jean, 1 daughter of James
Murray of Clairden, and his wife, Margaret Sinclair
(daughter of George Sinclair of Barrock and his first wife,
Anne, daughter of John Dunbar of Hempriggs), and had
two sons and three daughters :
1. George, who died unmarried.
2. James, advocate, afterwards of Castlehill and
These ladies all died unmarried.
JAMES TRAILL OF HOBBISTER, CASTLEHILL, AND
RATTAR, was appointed Sheriff-depute of Caithness in
1788, and about 1789 he purchased the estate of Rattar.
He married Lady Janet, youngest daughter of William
Sinclair of Rattar, tenth Earl of Caithness, and died in
1843, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He was held
in the highest estimation during his long, active, and
useful life, as an able judge and as a leading county
1 Ob. May 1810.
THE TRAILLS OF CASTLEHILL AND R ATT AH. 231
Mr. Traill had three sons and six daughters : The Trams of
~ , . Castlehill and
1. George, his successor. Rattar.
2. John, a young gentleman of much promise, who
died in early life.
3. James, barrister, who for many years was one of
the Police Magistrates of London.
1. Williamina- Barbara.
5. Margaret, who died at Brighton, 3d June 1878,
These ladies all died unmarried. They were, during
their lives, held in universal regard.
GEORGE TRAILL OF EATTAR represented Orkney in
Parliament for three years. In 1841 he was elected
member for the county of Caithness, which he represented
until 1869, when he retired, having been returned in
seven successive general elections, five times without a
contest, and twice by majorities. He entered the House
of Commons as a Liberal, and in his public career he was
throughout eminently consistent, while in his private
relations he was held in the greatest esteem as an upright
and honourable man. He died, unmarried, at London,
on 29th September 1871, in his eighty- third year.
rhe Oswalds. THE earliest member of this family of whom there is
notice is James Oswald of Kirkwall, who was born about
1590, and died about 1660. He got a charter from the
Earl of Caithness of tenements in Kirkwall. He had a
JAMES OSWALD was a Bailie of Wick. He married
Barbara, daughter of Coghill of that Ilk, and had two
1. James, born in 1654.
2. George, born in 1674.
JAMES OSWALD was Episcopal minister of Watten.
He married Mary, daughter of Richard Murray of Penny-
land, and had two sons and two daughters :
1. Richard of Scotston, a merchant in Glasgow, who
died in 1763.
2. Alexander, a merchant in Glasgow, who died in
1. Margaret, who married Baird of Chesterhall.
2. Isabella, who married James Campbell of Lochend.
THE OSWALDS. 233
GEORGE OSWALD, second son of Bailie Oswald, was The Oswalds.
ordained minister of Dunnet in 1697, and died in 1725.
He married Margaret, daughter of Richard Murray of
Pennyland, and had two sons and four daughters :
1. The Reverend James Oswald, Dunnet.
2. Richard Oswald of Auchencruive, who married
Mary, daughter of Alexander Ramsay, Esq.,
Jamaica, and died in 1784 without issue.
In the original Statistical Account of Caithness it is
asserted that Richard Oswald was an unsuccessful candi-
date for the Parish School of Thurso. This story must,
however, be incorrect, for as Mr. Oswald was born in
1704, and as the Session Records show that the competi-
tion for the school took place in 1706, the unsuccessful
competitor must have been a different person. The
name Oswald was not uncommon in Thurso at that
In the published papers and correspondence of Lord
Shelburne there is an account of his employment of Mr.
Richard Oswald to negotiate peace with America, after
the first war. Mr. Oswald is described as a well-known
Scotch merchant in the city of London, who had originally
become known as a contractor during the Seven Years'
war, and who, being dissatisfied with the manner in which
his business was carried on, went to Germany himself,
and acted as Commissary-General of the army of the
Duke of Brunswick. In 1759 he purchased the estate of
Auchencruive, in Ayrshire. He married Miss Mary
234 THE OSWALDS.
riie Oswalds. Ramsay, through whom he became possessed of extensive
estates in America and the West Indies. Owing to his
connection with these parts, he had already been fre-
quently consulted by the Government during the war.
In 1777 he had visited Paris, and made acquaintance with
Vergennes and Franklin. He was known as holding very
liberal views on economic and commercial questions, being
a disciple of Adam Smith, to whom he owed his intro-
duction to the Secretary of State. He left England with
a letter from Lord Shelburne to Franklin in which his
Lordship writes : " I have had a longer acquaintance with
him than even I have had the pleasure to have with you.
I believe him an honest man, and after consulting some
of our common friends, I have thought him the fittest for
the purpose. He is a practical man and conversant in
those negotiations which are most interesting to mankind.
This has made me prefer him to any of our speculative
friends, or to any person of higher rank." The nego-
tiation with America was ably conducted by Mr. Oswald,
who received high praise for his remarkable singleness of
1. Jean, who married David Manson, merchant in
Thurso, and left no issue.
2. Elizabeth, who married William Anderson, merchant
in Wick, and had a son, Alexander, a merchant
3. Mary, who married Andrew Robertson, minister of
Farr in 1727, and afterwards of Killearn. She
THE OSWALDS. 235
died in 1787. They had a son, Harry Oswald, a The Oswalds,
merchant in Glasgow.
4. A daughter, who married John Sutherland, minister
of Golspie in 1731, and of Tain in 1752, son of
Arthur Sutherland, minister of Edderton. Mr.
Sutherland had a numerous family of sons
and daughters. The eldest son was William
Sutherland, minister of Wick from 1764 to
From the Presbytery Records it appears that in 1699
the minister of Dunnet " delated " two persons, a man
and a woman, " suspect of witchcraft," and requested the
advice of the presbytery, who recommended the accused
to be confronted with the witnesses, and a report to be
made to next meeting ; but there is no further account
of the matter. This is about the last we hear of proceed-
ings before church courts against witches in Caithness.
DR. JAMES OSWALD, minister of Dunnet, was trans-
lated to Methven in Perthshire, and died in 1773. He
married Elizabeth, daughter of James Murray of Clairden,
and had four sons and three daughters :
1. George of Scotston, who married Miss Smith of
Methven, and died in 1819. He had four sons
and five daughters : Richard, who succeeded his
grand-uncle, Richard Oswald of Auchencruive,
and died without issue ; David, Captain in the
Nineteenth Regiment ; James, Captain in the
236 THE OSWALDS.
Royal Navy ; Alexander, an Advocate ; Miss
Oswald, afterwards of Scotston, who died in 1864,
aged ninety- eight ; Catharine, who married Mr.
Haldane ; Margaret, who married General Wilson;
Christian, who married Alexander Anderson,
merchant in London ; and Mary, who married Mr.
2. Alexander, of Shieldhall, who married Margaret,
only daughter of John Dundas of Manor, and
died in 1813. They had three sons and three
daughters. The sons were John, who died un-
married in 1800 ; James, a merchant in Glasgow,
afterwards of Shieldhall, and M.P. for Glasgow,
he succeeded to Auchincruive on the death of
his cousin, Richard, and died unmarried in 1853,
aged seventy-four ; and Richard, who married his
cousin, Miss Anderson, and had two sons and
two daughters. Richard's eldest son, Alexander
Haldane Oswald, in succession to his uncle, James,
of Auchincruive, and M.P. for Ayrshire in 1843,
married Lady Louisa, daughter of William, first
Earl Craven. His only son died in 1868, and
he himself died in September of the same year,
leaving two daughters, Louisa Elizabeth, who
married Colonel Farquharson of Invercauld, and
another, who married the Honourable J, Manners
Yorke. The second son of Richard Oswald was
George, who succeeded to Auchincruive on the
THE OSWALDS. 237
death of his brother, Alexander, and died in The Oswalds.
The daughters of Alexander Oswald of Shield-
hall were Agnes, who died unmarried; the
second was Lillias, who married Andrew Mitchell,
Writer in Glasgow, and the third was Margaret,
who married Dr. Macfadzean, Ardrossan.
3. James, third son of Dr. James Oswald.
4. Eichard, who died young.
3. Barbara, who married Mr. Laird, and had an only
daughter, Miss Margaret Laird.
THE INNESES OF THURSATER
The inneses of THE historian of the family of Innes of Innes asserts
that they possessed " the third rig of Caithness, which
they kept till the year 1540," and he supposes that they
may have acquired some part of their Caithness posses-
sions as early as 1260 or 1270. The editor of Forbes'
account of the family, however, had been unable to dis-
cover any evidence of their having held lands in Caith-
ness previous to 1507, at which date Alexander, son and
heir of Alexander Innes of Innes, got a charter of Dun-
beath, Reay, and Sandside. In 1541 and 1564 he
obtained charters of various lands in Latheron, Wick,
and Thurso parishes, which had previously belonged to
the Oliphants ; but these the Innes family do not appear
to have held for any length of time. In 1529 Dunbeath,
Reay, and Sandside had passed into the hands of the
Sinclairs, that being about the time of the marriage of
Alexander Sinclair of Stemster to Elizabeth Innes.
It is not known what was Elizabeth Innes's connec-
tion with the family of Innes ; but about the middle of
the seventeenth century, Margaret, only daughter of
Alexander Innes of Innes, married William Sinclair of
THE INNESES OF THUBSATEB. 239
Dunbeath, the son and heir of Alexander Sinclair and The inneses of
Elizabeth Innes. In addition to these, several inter- T
marriages took place between the house of Innes and the
Other branches of the family, or at least persons
bearing the family name, had a more permanent connec-
tion with the county, namely, the Inneses of Thursater
and their collaterals, and the Inneses of Sandside.
The first notice we have of the Inneses of Thursater
is in 1560' when " Maister Walter Innes of Thursater"
appears as witness to a charter of the lands of Wester-
seat, granted by John, Earl of Sutherland, to Hutcheon
Murray or Pyper, which was signed at Scrabster on 30th
December in that year. In 1554 and 1566 a Mr. Walter
Innes was vicar of Thurso, and he is also mentioned as
having obtained from the Bishop in 1564 a lease of lands
in Brims, adjoining Thursater. There can be little doubt
of the identity of " Mr. Walter," the vicar, with " Maister
Walter of Thursater," " Maister" having been the usual
title of a preacher.
From 1567 down to 1582 Thursater was possessed by
William Innes, who is described as of Thursater and
portioner of Brims. He was also Bailie to the Bishop of
Caithness. He had a son, Robert, who died before him.
It appears from a discharge dated 25th November
1582, and signed at Girnigo by William Innes, who is
therein designed "of Bryms," that his son, Robert, married
Margaret Sinclair, " Oy " or grandchild of George, fourth
240 THE INNESES OP THURSATER.
The inneses of Earl of Caithness ; and the discharge acknowledges pay-
ment of 100 merks from the Earl's son, George, Chan-
cellor of Caithness, as in full satisfaction of 300 merks
promised by the Earl in the contract of marriage of his
" Oy." Whose daughter Margaret Sinclair was is not
mentioned. Her name does not occur in the family pedi-
gree, and it may have been that she was a daughter of
William, the elder brother of the Chancellor, if she was
not a daughter of the Chancellor himself.
EGBERT INNES had five sons :
2. Eobert of Owst.
3. George of Skaill.
4. Alexander of Borrowstoun.
5. James in Watten.
JOHN INNES OF THURSATER, eldest son of Robert,
married Isobel Innes, and had three sons :
1. Robert, fiar of Thursater.
ROBERT INNES OF THCJRSATER had a son and a
1. James, his successor.
JAMES INNES OF THURSATER married in 1656 Barbara,
THE INNESES OF THURSATER. 241
daughter of John Murray of Pennyland ; she must have The inneses of
been his second wife. James Innes had two sons and a
1. Robert, his successor.
2. John, surgeon in Edinburgh in 1683.
1. Margaret, who married William Sinclair of Thrum-
ster, son of John, older of Brims, and grandson
of John Sinclair of Ulbster, his father and elder
brother, both afterwards of Ulbster, being parties
to the contract of marriage.
ROBERT INNES OF THURSATER received a disposition
from his father, James, in 1665. He was apparently not
the son of Barbara Murray, who married his father only
in 1656. Robert had two sons :
1. James, younger of Thursater, in 1668.
James Innes of Thursater is found in the Kirk-Session
Records as an Elder in 1666 and 1667, and there was a
James Innes also in 1675.
James Innes of Thursater, " grandson of Robert Innes,"
was infeft in 1684, on a precept of dare constat, and
was, it is presumed, the son of James, who was younger
of Thursater in 1668, and afterwards of Thursater.
From 1684 there is no certain account of this family ;
but the last- mentioned James Innes appears to have had
a son, Robert. At all events, in 1705, John Sinclair of
Brims was infeft on a disposition of Thursater and Easter
Brims, granted by Robert Innes of Thursater. There is
242 THE INNESES OF THURSATER.
The inneses of a tradition that the last laird of Thursater was accustomed
to attend the kirk of Thurso (of which he was an elder)
with his " twelve children/' which may account for the
extinction of the family estate.
In 1718 a daughter of John Calder of Strath was the
wife of James Innes in Thrumster, who was afterwards
in Ollaclate. Their son, William, was also in Ollaclate,
and was father of the late Major James Innes of Thrum-
ster, and it is thought that the connection traditionally
said to exist between the Inneses of Thursater and the
Inneses of Thrumster was through this James Innes of
1718, and that he was probably the son or grandson of
the last Innes of Thursater.
Reverting to the other sons of Robert Innes and
Margaret Sinclair, there were :
I. ROBERT INNES OF OUST, in 1633, who married
Elizabeth Sinclair, and died before 1671, leaving two sons
and three daughters :
1. Jean, who married Thomas Gunn or Rorieson in
2. Margaret, who married James Innes of Borrow-
3- Janet, who married John Forbes in Achscrabster,
There were apparently two families of Inneses of Oust,
THE INNESES OF THURSATER. 243
as we find in 1671 Elspeth Innes, relict of William Innes Theinnesesof
of Oust, and William, her eldest son.
II. GEORGE INNES OF OUST married Katharine,
daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Forss, and had a son,
III. JOHN INNES OF OUST appears from 1677 to 1682.
He married Anna, daughter of William Sutherland of
Langwell, a branch of the Sutherlands of Forse. They
had a son and a daughter :
1. John, to whom his uncle, James Sutherland of
Langwell, was tutor.
1. Marion, who, in May 1703, married John, eldest
son of Robert Calder in Winless, with consent of
her mother, who was then wife of Alexander
Calder of Achingale. Her tocher was 2800 merks.
Of the Oust branch there is no further account.
The third son of Robert Innes of Thursater was
George Innes of Skaill, who had a son, Walter.
Walter Innes of Skaill married Katharine, daughter
of Sir James Sinclair of Murkle, and had issue :
1. John, who, as younger of Skaill, is included in the
criminal letters in 1668 against the gentlemen
of Caithness for their raid into Strathmore.
1. Mary, who married Angus M'Kay of Golval, Strath-
244 THE INNESES OF THURSATER.
The inneses of The fourth son of Robert Innes of Thursater was
Alexander Innes of Borrowstown, who married Mar-
garet Miller, and had a son, James.
James Innes of Borrowstown married his cousin,
Margaret, daughter of Robert Innes of Oust, and had a
Elizabeth Innes married Henry Budge, son of Robert
Budge in Stainland.
These Inneses of Oust, Skaill, and Borrowstown held
their several lands, not as proprietors, but under the
redeemable tenure of wadsets, although during the sub-
sistence of the wadsets the holders exercised the usual
rights of proprietors. A great portion of the lands in the
county was held at this period in a similar way, and until
comparatively recent times the number of absolute pro-
prietors was limited.
THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE.
IN 1507 Sandside belonged to the family of Innes of The inneses of
Innes. In 1529 it had passed into possession of the first
Sinclairs of Dunbeath, probably through the marriage of
Elizabeth Innes to Alexander, son of William, second
Earl of Caithness, and in 1610 it was acquired from the
great-grandson of Alexander Sinclair by Lord Forbes,
who was allied to the Inneses. In 1624 it was purchased
by Sir Donald M'Kay, and about 1625 it was acquired
by William Innes, a Morayshire gentleman, said to have
been related to the family of Innes of Innes, and who had
come into the county as Chamberlain for Lord Forbes.
Isauld formed part of the original estate, but in 1703 a
charter of adjudication and novodamus was obtained by
Mr. Robert Gordon, wherein Isauld was erected into a
barony, and in 1723 that property was acquired by the
family of Murkle, of whose estate in Caithness it still
It is uncertain when WILLIAM INNES, FIRST OF
SANDSIDE, died. He appears to have had two sons :
1. William, supposed to have been the eldest.
2. John, who in 1626 is mentioned as an Officer in
246 THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE.
The inneses of the troops raised by Sir Donald M'Kay for the
King of Denmark, and who is said to have
obtained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
WILLIAM INNES, SECOND OF SANDSIDE. In 1638
there is a deed which narrates a bond granted in 1634 by
William Innes, " Elder and Younger," in which it is stated
v that both were " sty lied Captains." It is difficult to say
who these two Captains were. In 1631 and 1637 char-
ters were granted to William Innes of Sandside, and in
1640 a William Innes was succeeded by his eldest son,
James, who had a brother, William of Isauld and Bor-
lum. Unless "younger" in the bond of 1634 necessarily
leads to the conclusion that Captain William Innes
"younger" was the heir-apparent of Sandside, he may
have been the same person as William of Isauld and
Borlum. If Captain William "younger" was not that
person, then the parties to the bond must have been
either William Innes, first of Sandside, and his son and
successor ; or William Innes, the second of Sandside,
and a son, William. On the latter supposition, that son
must have been the father of James, Robert, and
William Innes, and must himself have succeeded to Sand-
side, as William, second of Sandside, would not have two
sons of the same name, Captain William, and William
of Isauld and Borlum.
WILLIAM INNES, SECOND OR THIRD OF SANDSIDE, had
three sons :
THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE. 247
1 . James. The Inneses of
2. Robert, in Shebster.
3. William of Isauld and Borlum, who died before
1655, 1 and to whom reference is afterwards
JAMES INNES OF SANDSIDE was served heir in 1640
to his father, William Innes, whichever of the Williams
that may have been. In 1637 he had joined his father
in a bond,* wherein he is described as his eldest lawful
son; and from 1640 down to 1693, a period of fifty-three
years, there is a James Innes of Sandside, who is sup-
posed to have been the same person.
About the time of James Innes's succession there is
mention of an Alexander Innes, as eldest son of William
Innes of Sandside, but of him there is no further account.
James Innes married Elizabeth Johnstone, and had
three sons and a daughter :
1. William, younger of Sandside in 1684.
2. Robert, tutor of Sandside.
3. Arthur, mentioned in 1697.
1. Elizabeth, to whom, in 1673, her father granted
a bond of provision, which is witnessed by her
uncle, Robert, in Shebster. In 1682 she married
William Sinclair, Commissary of Caithness,
eldest son of William Sinclair of Hoy (not
William, afterwards of Scotscalder), and she had
1 Bond, 1638.
248 THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE.
The inneses of two sons i William, writer in Thurso, and
Robert, rector of Bulfan in Essex.
It is uncertain at what time James Innes died, and
whether his successor, William Innes, was his son or
his grandson. In 1684 his son, William, is styled
younger of Sandside, but from 1693 down to 1701, when
William Innes, then a minor, was laird of Sandside, with
his uncle, Robert, as tutor, there is no mention, so far
as appears, of the succession of William, the eldest son of
WILLIAM INNES OF SANDSIDE, grandson (as is sup-
posed) of James, died without issue in 1747. In 1710,
being then Captain Innes, he fought a duel with Alex-
ander Sinclair of Olrig, in which the latter was unfortun-
ately killed, and for some time thereafter he resided
abroad. This quarrel, which excited strong feeling in
the county, from its fatal result, appears to have arisen
under the following circumstances : Captain Innes and
a party of gentlemen of the name of Sinclair had met
at Thurso, in the lodgings of the laird of Murkle, who
was then a youth of seventeen. In the course of the
evening Murkle left the room in ill-humour, and went to
bed, whereupon it was proposed that the strongest
of the party should carry him back, and Innes, follow-
ing up the joke, carried the young laird from his bed,
and placed him, wrapped in blankets, in the chair.
This increased his bad humour, and he spat in Innes's
THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE. 249
face, which called forth the remark that " the best of the The inneses of
Sinclairs dared not do that." Olrig fired at this, and Sandside '
instantly challenged Innes, who, however, unwilling to
carry the dispute further, represented to Olrig that the
contest was unequal, he, Olrig, having a large family,
while he himself had none. But Olrig insisting on fight-
ing, they met at a place near Loch Ulgrim on Scotscalder,
Olrig armed with a broadsword, and Captain Innes with
a rapier. The result was that Olrig was run through the
body, and died within a few days.
Reverting now to the brothers of James Innes, it
appears that William Innes of Isauld and Borlum died
He was twice married. By his first wife he had a
William Innes of Isauld, who is mentioned in 1660
and 1668. He married Elizabeth, daughter of
David Murray of Clairden, by whom he had
a son, James. About 1684 James Innes, then
of Sandside, and William, his eldest son, granted
to David Murray of Clairden a bond of corrobora-
tion of debts and diligences affecting the estate,
and in 1693 his son, James Murray, granted a"
deed of restriction of the adjudications in favour
of his nephew, James Innes, son of Isauld.
Elizabeth Murray, the mother of James, was
liferented in Sandside, and was styled "Lady
Sandside." How she obtained this liferent is
250 THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE.
Theinnesesof not known, as her husband. William Innes of
Isauld, does not appear to have been also of
Sandside. He may, however, have been in posses-
sion as an adjudging creditor.
William Innes of Isauld and Borlum married, secondly,
Margaret Cunningham, said by Douglas to have been
daughter of William Cunningham of Broomhill, but who
was, more probably, the daughter of John Cunningham of
Brownhill, who signed a bond of cautionry for her. Of this
marriage there were several children, and among these
Henry, the eldest son.
Jean, who got in 1650 from her half-brother, William
of Isauld, a bond for 500 merks.
Henry Innes was apparently a minor at the time of
his father's death, and was, as stated in a deed by his
mother in 1683, "under great burden of debt." She
was liferented in Borlum, and in order to assist her son,
she assigned to him certain claims on the estate of
Sandside, that being all she could do for him, after main-
taining herself and family, " as becomes a person of my
quality." Henry Innes married Jean, daughter of John
Sinclair, first of Brabster, and had three sons and a
daughter : Harry, the eldest son ; Alexander, who died
in the West Indies, where he is said to have held " a
considerable employment ; " John, who was a young man
at school in 1698, as appears from a letter by him to his
uncle, Alexander Sinclair of Brabster, written in that year;
and Margaret, who married David Murray of Castlehill.
THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE. 251
HARRY INNES OF BORLUM succeeded to Sandside on The inneses of
the death of Captain William Innes, in 1747. He
married Janet Dunbar, widow of John Sinclair of
Barrock, and daughter of ' Sir James Sutherland or
Dunbar of Heinpriggs, and had two sons :
1. William, his successor.
2. Alexander, whose daughter, Anne, married John
Sutherland of Wester, and had by him a son
and six daughters.
WILLIAM INNES OF SANDSIDE, son of Harry Innes,
married in 1764 Mary Craddock, who survived him, and
resided for many years in Thurso, where, as "Lady
Sandside," she was much esteemed and respected.
They had two sons and several daughters :
1. William, his successor.
2. Henry, who died without issue.
Mrs. Macdonald, who had a son and two daughters.
MAJOR WILLIAM INNES OF SANDSIDE was served heir
to his father, William, in 1787. He married his cousin,
Miss Craddock, and died in 1842 without issue, being
succeeded by his nephew, Captain Donald Macdonald.
CAPTAIN DONALD MACDONALD OF SANDSIDE, RE.,
was served nearest and lawful heir of provision to his
uncle in 1843, under settlements executed in 1816 and
1830, and he died 17th October 1872. He married Lady
252 THE INNESES OF SANDSIDE.
The inueses of Ramsay Maule, daughter of Lord Panmure, and had five
Sandside. J '
sons and two daughters :
1. Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonald, who married Miss
Lindsay, and died in India leaving one son, an
5. Dudley- Ward.
2. Patricia, who died young.
The estate has been sold to the Duke of Portland,
* and none of the family of Sandside remain in the county.
This sketch of the family is confessedly imperfect, but
the sources of information have been limited.
THE COGHILLS OF THAT ILK.
THE proprietors of the small estate of Coghill and The cogMiis of
Gersay in .Watten, now part of the estate of Watten,
were, so far as is known, the only county landholders
who bore the designation " of that Ilk."
The first, apparently, of this family was Alexander
Coghill " of that Ilk," who nourished previous to 1630, in
which year he was succeeded by his son, David.
David Coghill got a charter in 1630 from William,
Lord Sinclair, and another charter in 1638 from John,
Master of Berriedale. In 1650 he was infeft in Scottag,
on a charter from the Earl of Caithness.
Barbara Coghill, daughter of " Coghill of that Ilk,"
who married James Oswald, a Bailie of Wick, may
have been the sister or perhaps the daughter of David
Thomas Coghill of Coghill and Gersay, the son probably
of David, obtained a precept of dare constat from the
Earl of Caithness.
In 1671 David Coghill of Coghill got a charter from
the Earl of Caithness, confirming a disposition to him by
David Coghill of Coghill ; and it is presumed that he
254 THE COGHILLS OF THAT ILK.
The coghiiis of was the son of Thomas, and grandson of the first
that Ilk. -^ .,
About the end of the century (1698) the lands were
acquired by Alexander Manson of Watten.
THE SINCLAIKS OF BOELUM, TOFTKEMP,
IN the South or " Murkle Aisle" of the parish The sinciairs of
church of 'Thurso there is a mural inscription on thekemp, and
north-west wall, in the following terms : Thura "
" This is the burial-place of James Sinclair of Borlum ;
and here lyes James Sinclair his eldest son and his
spouse, Eliz. Innes, who left behind them the Revd. Mr.
John Sinclair who was Rector of James interred in Leck-
patrick nigh Strabane in Ireland 1665." " Here lyes
Isabel Sinclair who was married to the Revd. George
Anderson Minister of Halkirk; and Elizabeth Sinclair
married to John Farquhr, Bailze of Thurso; and Mar-
garet Sinclair spouse to George Sinclair in Ulgrimbeg."
Isabel Sinclair was the grand-daughter of James
Sinclair of Borlum, and it is thought that Elizabeth and
Margaret were probably her sisters ; that all three were
daughters of James Sinclair, the eldest son of Borlum,
and that George Sinclair, the husband of Margaret, was
a grandson of John Sinclair, first of Assery.
Who James Sinclair of Borlum was is very uncertain.
He may have been a grandson of William Sinclair of
256 THE SINCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THURA.
The Sinclair of Dunbeath, to whom Brubster, Brims, Toftkemp, and
Borlum, Toft- m-, , , , ^ , , . . .
kemp, and Inura belonged^ Borlum s name occurs ui common with
all these places in the county records from 1624 to 1646 ;
or he may have been of the family of Murkle, and if so,
he may have been a brother of John Sinclair, first of
Assery, and a son of James Sinclair, first of Murkle.
In M'Kay's history it is mentioned that James Sin-
clair of Borlum was killed (time not stated) by one Neil
M'Kay, for the share he had in the slaughter of the
latter's father in an affray in Thurso, about 1648,
with which Murkle was concerned. Then, Murkle was
cautioner for him and for his own son, John Sinclair of
Assery, in 1637; and frequent marriages took place
between the immediate descendants of Sinclair of Bor-
lum and Sinclair of Assery. Thus, Borlum's son, Major
William Sinclair, married Assery's grand-daughter, Mar-
garet Doull; Borlum's grand- daughter, Jean Sinclair,
married Assery's great-grandson, Alexander Sinclair ;
and Borlum's grandson, Richard of Thura, married Eliza-
beth, daughter of George Sinclair of Assery. It may be
noticed also that James Sinclair of Murkle is found as
cautioner for John Sinclair of Assery, his son, and James
of Borlum, and that John Sinclair, fourth of Sybster,
the son of Assery, is cautioner in 1658 in the marriage-
contract of Borlum's daughter, Jean.
On the other hand, if James Sinclair was of the
Dunbeath family, he was probably the son of George
Sinclair of Downreay , the youngest son of William Sinclair.
THE SINCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THURA. 257
It is certain, at all events, that there were transactions The sinciairs of
between James Sinclair and the descendants of William kem^wid^
Sinclair in relation to lands which belonged to the family. Thura '
In particular, there is mention of a renunciation of rights
held by Borlum over Spittal, granted by him, in 1649, to
John Sinclair of Brims, grandson of Dunbeath. This
deed, if extant, would perhaps throw light on his history. 1
A few years ago a family of Sinciairs of Holyhill, in
Ireland (of whom notice will be found in " Burke "),
claiming to be descended from a " Sir James Sinclair of
Caithness," made inquiries in regard 'to their Caithness
ancestry. There is no doubt that this family is descended
from a clergyman named James Sinclair, rector of Strath-
bane, a grandson of James Sinclair of Borlum, while the
tradition among them that their ancestor was a Sir James
Sinclair strengthens the supposition that Borlum was of
the Murkle family. John Sinclair of F res wick writes in
1782 from Knaresboro' : " At York ther'se a very re-
spectable sensible man, Councillor Robert Sinclair of the
Holyhill family in Ireland. He has a property there of
400 a year ; is marry' t here to a lady of good family, by
whom he will get 10,000. The late Mr. Pope of Reay
knew to what family in Caithness they were connected.
He wants to know his descent, when they emigrate, or
when came of the Caithness family."
1 Reference is made to notes on that there was a connection between the
Sinciairs of Dunbeath and Stemster as to Sinciairs of Borlum and Wester-Brims,
younger branches of Dunbeath family, and the Sinciairs of Brims descended
Mr. Alexander Sinclair was of opinion from the Sinciairs of Dunbeath.
258 THE SINCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THURA.
The sinciairs of In 1853 a letter was received by the late Sir John
kempfand Sinclair (Barrock) from a gentleman in Ireland to the
following effect : "In tracing the pedigree of the Lowry
family of the County Tyrone in this country, I find that,
early in the 1 8th century, Hobert Lowry, grandfather of
the first Lord Belmore, married Miss Sinclair, daughter
of the Rev. James Sinclair of Holyhill, County Down, and
grand-daughter of Sir James Sinclair of Caithness. Could
you assist me in identifying this Sir James, as I am
induced, as a matter of family history, to trace this if pos-
sible ?" This no doubt has reference to the family of the
Rev. James Sinclair.
JAMES SINCLAIR OF BORLUM had four sons, James,
Alexander, William, and Robert, and a daughter, Jean.
1. James Sinclair of Wester-Brims married Elspeth
or Elizabeth Innes, probably of the Inneses of
Thursater and Wester-Brims, and died before
1659, leaving a son, John, and several daughters.
The existence and history of John Sinclair, his
son, are clearly shown by the inscription (given
above) in Thurso Old Kirk, and by the state-
ments in a contract, dated 23d September 1659
(Sheriff-Court Records, 1665), between Elizabeth
Innes, his mother, and his uncle, Alexander
Sinclair of Telstane. James Sinclair of Thura
(Borlum), as principal, and his son, James of
Wester-Brims, as cautioner, had come under
certain obligations which Elspeth Innes, as exe-
THE SINCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THURA. 259
cutrix of her husband, had to pay. She led an The sinciairs of
adjudication of the lands of Thura and Toftkemp, ^^1""
then possessed by Major William Sinclair, for Thura>
1600 merks, and she assigned the decreet to
Alexander Sinclair of Telstane and his wife,
Isabel Cunningham ; he becoming bound to lead
an adjudication against John, son of James of
Wester- Brims, as heir of line to his grandfather,
James of Thura and Borlum. This assignation
is* drawn by John Cunningham, advocate, no
doubt the brother of Isabel Cunningham, and
afterwards Sir John of Caprington. ( Vide Cun-
ninghams). Further, in a deed executed by Eliza-
beth Innes, as relict of James Sinclair of Wester-
Brims, in connection with the sale of Brims, in
1660, to John Sinclair of Tannoch, mention is
made of her son, Mr. John Sinclair, minister of
Leckpatrick, in Ireland.
James Sinclair had certainly three daughters :
Isabell, who married the Reverend George Ander-
son, minister of Halkirk, as mentioned in the
inscription above quoted ; Jean, who married
Alexander Sinclair, notary-public in Thurso ;
and a third daughter, who married Alexander
Abernethy, in Swordale, and thereafter Alexander
Mulliken, in Papigo, chamberlain to the Earl of
2. Captain Alexander Sinclair, second son of James
The Sinclair* of
260 THE STNCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THTJRA.
Sinclair of Borlum and Thura, was first of Bower-
tower, and afterwards of Telstane (now Hemp-
riggs), of which he held a wadset from the Earl
of Caithness. He married Isabel, the daughter
according to Douglas of William Cunningham
of Broomhill, but more probably of John Cun-
ningham of Brownhill. Captain Sinclair had two
sons, John (1683) and James, and two daughters,
Katharine, " Lady Dun," wife of William Sinclair
of Dun, and thereafter of Alexander Sutherland
of Ausdale, by whom she had a daughter,
Isabella ; his second daughter married one John
In 1666 there is on record an inhibition at
the instance of John, Alexander, George, Eliza-
beth, and Margaret Sinclair, as " lawful heirs " of
Alexander Sinclair of Telstane. It is not ex-
plained who these persons were, or what was their
relationship to Alexander Sinclair.
3. Major William Sinclair of Thura, third son of James
of Borlum, got a disposition of the estate from
his father in 1651. He served in the German
wars, and was in the fight at Aultimarloch in
1680, on the side of the Sinclairs. He married
Margaret, daughter of John Doull of Thuster,
Wick, and grand-daughter of John Sinclair, first
of Assery. He had three sons and a daughter :
(l) John, afterwards of Thura, who disponed the
THE SINCLAIRS OF BORLUM, TOFTKEMP, AND THURA. 261
estate in 1702 to his brother, Richard ; (2) The sinciairs of
Richard of Thura, who married Elizabeth, kmp, aad
daughter of George Sinclair of Assery, and Thura-
had a son, Captain John Sinclair, who sold
the lands in 1754 to Daniel Taylor; (3) James,
of whom there is no account ; and (l) Jean.
4. Robert Sinclair, fourth son of James of Borlum, had
a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Donald Hen-
derson in Sibster, afterwards in Achalibster.
'Vide Hendersons of Westerdale.
1. Jean, the daughter of James Sinclair of Borlum,
married, in 1658, Alexander Steill, who is de-
signed as "servitor to the Earl of Caithness."
Her brothers, Captain Alexander and Major
William, were parties to the contract of marriage,
and her tocher was 1000 merks.
THE BRUGES OF STANSTILL.
The Bruces of THE Bruces, of whom the principal family was Bruce
of Stanstill, are of old standing in the county. It is
believed that ancient charters connected with this family
are still extant in the charter- chest of Mr. Wemyss of
Southdun ; but the information at hand does not ex-
tend beyond 1559. At that period, Stanstill, which had
formed part of the bishopric, was feued out with other
lands to John, Earl of Sutherland. In the charter by the
Bishop, Stanstill is mentioned as then held in feu by
"William Davidson." As we find, in 1562, " David
'Saul of Stanstill," and, in 1567, " David Bruce of Stan-
still," and David having been a family name, it is
probable that " William Davidson" was William David 's-
son, that is, William Saul or Bruce, son of David Saul or
Bruce. Saul seems to have been the patronymic or clan
name of the Bruces, for, in 1630, David Bruce, then
of Stanstill, bequeathed " two hundred merks of his
readiest rents to be dedicat and given to the building of
ane He and burying place in the kirk yard of Bower in
the Clan-Saul Hillock, where he has ordainit to bury
THE BRUGES OF STANSTILL. 263
I. DAVID BRUCE, who was probably the David Saul The Braces of
of 1562, obtained a charter of Stanstill and part of Kirk
in 1567 ; and in 1577 he received sasine on Stanstill, and
in the hereditary office of Keeper of the Loch of Alter-
wall and fresh- water fishings thereof, on a charter from
Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, the son of Earl John.
David Bruce had two sons :
1. William, his successor.
2. John, mentioned in 1601.
II. WILLIAM BRUCE OF STANSTILL AND HASTIGROW
obtained a tack of teinds in 1573 ; and in 1582 he got a
precept as heir to his father. He died in 1622. He was
twice married ; first to Isabella, daughter of Patrick
Mowat of Buquhollie. She died in 1601, as appears from
a tombstone to her memory, which had been originally
placed in the parish church of Canisbay, and which is
still extant in the churchyard there. By her William
Bruce had three sons and two daughters :
1. David, his successor.
2. William, mentioned in 1617.
3. Patrick, who had a son named Magnus, and other
children Magnus being the eldest.
1. Christian, who married Gavin Bruce, portioner of
William Bruce married, secondly, Janet Murray,
widow of David Sinclair, apparent of Forss, and daughter
264 THE BRUGES OF STANSTILL.
The Braces of of Murray of Pulrossie, Sutherlandshire. She survived
her husband ; and much litigation took place between
her and her relations (the Hurrays of Pulrossie and Span-
ziedale) and her stepson, David Bruce, with the result,
as stated in a letter in 1630, from David Bruce, minister
of Olrig (a near connection of the Stanstill family), to
Magnus Mowat of Buquhollie, that " the Ladye craftily
wrought her point, to the ruin of the House."
By Janet Murray, William Bruce had a daughter,
Janet, who married James Sinclair of Reaster, afterwards
of Rattar, son of Sir John Sinclair, first of Greenland and
Rattar. By her eldest son, William, the Rattar line was
III. DAVID BRUCE OF STANSTILL succeeded his father,
William, and married Helen, daughter of George Ogilvie
of Carnoustie, and sister of Sir George Ogilvie. In refer-
ence to the misfortunes which befell the family of Stan-
still in the time of David Bruce, minister of Olrig, he
writes that, " the want of his tocher gude fra Carnoustie
brought a discord betwixt his father and him," of which,
he adds, his stepmother took advantage to his prejudice.
David Bruce left the estate much involved in debt,
and the minister of Olrig, the fast friend of the family,
urged Buquhollie, the uncle of Stanstill, "to lat all
friends put to their shoulders for the standing of the
House that is so unjustly pursuit," he himself having
taken charge of the young heir, whom he describes as a
THE BRUGES OF STANSTILL. 265
" pretty quick bairn of nine years of age." David Bruce The Braces of
died in 1630, leaving a son and four daughters :
1. William, his heir.
By his will he " left in Legacie " his four daughters as
follows : Janet, to Lady Hatton, her mother's sister ;
Jean, to his cousin-german, Christian Mowat, wife of Sir
John Sinclair of Dunbeath ; Elizabeth, to her uncle, the
laird of Birness ; and Margaret, to her aunt, Christian,
wife of Gavin Bruce of Lyth.
IV. WILLIAM BRUCE OF STANSTILL appears to have
married a daughter of Sir John Sinclair of Dunbeath, for
in a bond to Sir John, in 1640, he mentions the latter as
his father-in-law. If he had issue, there is no account of
them. David Bruce of Lyth, the minister of Olrig, who
had taken -charge of William when a minor, at his death,
in 1633, committed his ward to the care of his brother
and heir, William, and a great deal of litigation subse-
quently took place between them.
The estate was apparently hopelessly sunk in debt,
and Sir John Sinclair had acquired apprisings over it,
amounting to 20,000 merks. In 1649, William Bruce,
portioner of Lyth, got right to these apprisings from Sir
John, subject to the condition that Patrick, the uncle of
266 THE BRUGES OF STANSTILL.
The Braces of William Bruce of Stanstill, or Magnus, Patrick's eldest
son, should be entitled to redeem the lands within a
certain time. This makes it probable that, at the period
of this transaction, William Bruce was dead, and had left
no issue. The estate was not redeemed, and conse-
quently, in 1653, Robert Bruce, eldest son of William
Bruce of Lyth, came into possession of Stanstill. The
Lyth Bruces were no doubt connected with the Stanstill
family, as were the Bruces of Hastigrow and Ham ; but
the particulars of the relationship have not been traced.
Y. EGBERT BRUCE OF STANSTILL, the son of William
Bruce, portioner of Lyth, and nephew of David Bruce,
minister of Olrig, married Elizabeth or Elspeth, daughter
of James Sinclair of Rattar, and had a son, William.
VI. WILLIAM BRUCE OF STANSTILL is described, in
1667, as "Younger of Stanstill," and as portioner of
Lyth. In 1666 he married Margaret, daughter of David
Sinclair of Southdun. 1 His further history is. unknown,
but the title-deeds of the estate will no doubt show when
Stanstill passed from the Bruce family, as it long ago did.
There is some notice of a second son, George.
1 Contract of Marriage.
THE BRUGES OF HAM.
WALTER BRUCE OF HAM, third son of Saul Bruce
Lyth, obtained, in 1636, from James Sinclair of Rattar,
a wadset'of Ham and Wester; and in 1647 lie got a
wadset of Brough from William Sinclair of Rattar. In
1663 the Earl of Caithness gave him a charter of these
lands, confirming to him and his heirs "an irredeemable
bond of alienation/'
Walter Bruce married three times ; first, Janet, eldest
daughter of James Sinclair of Rattar ; l secondly, Barbara,
daughter of William Smithe, minister of Dunnet from
1614 to 1650 ; 2 and, thirdly, Elizabeth, daughter of
Alexander Sinclair of Latheron, and sister to the first
Sinclairs of Brabster and Barrock. The last-named
survived her husband and married George Sinclair of
By his first marriage Walter Bruce had two sons
and a daughter :
1. John, his successor.
2. David, afterwards styled of Ham.
1 Contract of Marriage, 20th December 1642.
2 Contract of Marriage, ] 657.
268 THE BRUGES OF HAM.
TheBrucesof 1. Janet.
By his second marriage he had two sons and a
1. Rose or Rosie, who married Andrew Gunn, and
who seems to have been heiress to Walter and
By his third marriage he had a daughter :
Elizabeth, who married William Calder of Lynegar.
John Bruce of Ham married Anne, daughter of John
Cunningham of Brownhill, and had two daughters :
These ladies are both mentioned in 1694 as daughters
of the deceased John Bruce of Ham.
John Bruce appears to have been succeeded by his
brother, David, as " heir-male " of him and his father,
Walter; while at the same time his daughter, Janet,
is designed as Janet Bruce of Ham.
Janet Bruce married ^Eneas or Angus Sutherland,
merchant in Thurso, and had a son, William.
In 1738 James Murray of Clairden adjudged from
William Sutherland, son of Janet Bruce, his rights to
Ham, as representing his mother, his grandfather, John,
and his great-grandfather, Walter. From James Murray
the lands of Ham, etc., came into the possession of Sinclair
of Barrock, and they finally reverted to the Rattar family.
THE BRUGES OF HAM. 269
David Bruce of Ham, the "heir-maill" of his brother, The Braces of
John, and his father, Walter, is mentioned in 1694 as
" now of Ham," but there is no further notice of him,
and it would seem as if the possession had remained in
the family of John Bruce until the date of Clairden's
adjudication in 1738.
John Bruce's widow, Anne Cunningham, was life-
rented in Ham, and married William Sutherland, who
was thereafter styled of Ham. He is not to be con-
founded with her grandson, William Sutherland, the son
of her daughter, Janet.
THE BRUGES OF LYTH.
TheBmcesof IN 1524 Lyth belonged to the "Hansons." In that
year Kenneth, Donald, and William Manson got a charter
of the lands in equal shares from Andrew, Bishop of
Caithness, and, in 1532, a commission was directed by
the Pope for confirming the grant.
Between 1583 and 1610, Lyth was acquired by the
Bruces, William Bruce of Stanstill having, in 1583,
obtained a charter from the Bishop of one-third, while,
in 1601, another one-third was held by Saul Bruce, and
the remaining one-third, in 1610, by Gavin Bruce.
Saul and Gavin Bruce, portioners of Lyth, were
probably brothers, and in a removing against them in
1610, at the instance of William Bruce of Stanstill
(Gavin Brace's father-in-law), from the lands of Bilster,
they are designed by the alias of " Donald Williamsons."
Their connection with the Stanstill branch is not known
further than Gavin's alliance by marriage.
In 1592 there was a charter to William Bruce, eldest
son of Donald Williamson or Bruce. In 1681 the Bishop
granted a charter to Bruce, heir of Gavin Bruce,
son and heir of Donald. In 1683 there was a special
THE BRUGES OF LYTH. 271
retour and also a precept of dare constat to James Bruce, The Bmces of
grandson of Gavin. Thus there are :
1. Donald Bruce Williamson.
2. William Bruce, eldest son of Donald, in 1592.
3. Gavin Bruce, who married Christian, daughter of
William Bruce, second of Stanstill.
4. Bruce, Gavin's son.
5. James Bruce, grandson of Qavin. In 1682 he
disponed his third of Lyth to George Sinclair of
I. SAUL BRUCE married one of the Manson family, to
whom, in 1524, Lyth, then divided into three portions,
belonged. He had three sons and a daughter :
1. David, minister of Olrig, or more probably of
Halkirk. In 1591 Saul Bruce was minister of
Reay, and between 1597 and 1599 he was trans-
lated to Olrig. David Bruce is not in the list of
ministers of Olrig in " Fasti Eccles. Scot."
3. Walter of Ham.
I. Marjorie, who married Sinclair of Dun.
II. DAVID BRUCE, portioner of Lyth, said to have
been minister of Olrig and Skinnet, married Janet
Sinclair, the widow of John Smart, who was minister of
Wick in 1638, and who died minister of Dunnet, in 1667.
The great interest taken by David Bruce in the affairs
THE BRUGES OF LYTH.
The Braces of O f the Stanstill family has been already noticed. He died
in 1633, and, having no family, he left his property of
Lyth to his brother, William, who is designed of Milburn ;
his moveables to his brother, Walter Bruce of Ham ; a
legacy to his sister, Marjorie ; and another legacy to her
" and William Sinclair's bairns." William Sinclair of
Dun is mentioned by Father Hay as having married
Marjorie, daughter of Saul Bruce of Leith (Lyth). She
was, no doubt, David Bruce's sister.
III. WILLIAM BRUCE, portion er of Lyth, succeeded
his brother, David, and had three sons :
3. William of Myreland ; and also of Kirk and
Myrelandhorn, which he apprised from James
Sinclair, and assigned to his grandson, George,
together with an apprising of Lyth.
IV. ROBERT BRUCE, eldest son of William, and
portioner of Lyth in 1653, came into possession of Stan-
still. For further particulars regarding him reference is
made to the " Notes " on the Stanstill family.
THE BKUCES OF HASTIGEOW
THE lp,nds of Hastigrow belonged, in 1582, to The Braces of
William Bruce, then of Stanstill, and they mustseater.
have belonged also to his father, David, first of Stan-
still, for William obtained a precept as heir to his
In 1604, Hastigrow was in possession of John Bruce, 1
who probably was John, the brother of William. John
had a son, David.
DAVID BRUCE OF HASTIGROW AND SEATER was served
heir to his father in 1607, 2 and had a son, Magnus.
MAGNUS BRUCE OF HASTIGROW AND SEATER was
served heir to his father, 3 and had two sons :
1. John of Hastigrow, who married Katharine
2. William of Seater.
In 1686 the brothers made a division of their
father's property. John got Hastigrow, to which he
1 Charter by E. of C., 9th June 1604.
2 Precept, llth August 1607.
3 Sasine on Disposition by his father, 1657.
274 THE BRUGES OF HASTIGROW AND SEATER.
The Bmces of also had a disposition from his father and grand-
father in 1657; and Seater fell to William. Hasti-
grow was sold to George Sinclair of Barrock in 1687.
Both it and Seater now belong to the Southdun
THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVERS
FROM " An Account of the Clan Tver," or, as they are The Campbell
named bjf Gordon, The Sell- Wick- Iver in Caithness, by
Principal Campbell of Aberdeen, printed for private
circulation in 1868, and reprinted in 1873, it appears
that some at least of the Caithness Campbells, viz. the
M'lvers Buey (Buidhe, Yellow-haired), latterly Camp-
bells of Quoycrook, in Caithness, and Duchernan, in
Argyle, are descended from Kenneth Buey M'lver, who
emigrated from Argyle to Caithness between 1575 and
1585, accompanied by his brother, Farquhar, and a band
of the clan. In 1594 Farquhar was slain in a fight near
Harpsdale. Kenneth was alive in 1616, and had obtained
a charter of Quarrycrook in Halkirk.
Kenneth M'lver is said to have had two sons :
William M'lver or William Kennetson, who was chief
of the clan, and John. The latter and his uncle,
Farquhar, are supposed to have been the progenitors of
many of the Caithness M'lvers and Iverachs, some of
whom assumed the name of Campbell.
About 1626 William Buey was dispossessed by Lord
276 THE CAMPBELLS AND MOVERS OR IVERACHS.
The Campbells Berriedale of such lands as were held from him, and he
returned to Argyle. Having interested Lord Lorn in his
fortunes, he assumed the name of Campbell, and, coming
back into Caithness with a new body of his clansmen, he
carried on a feud with Lord Berriedale for several years.
At length he was taken prisoner, along with one of his
sons, and both were put to death.
In Principal Campbell's account of the Caithness
M'lvers, they are said to have occupied most of the
lands in the parishes of Halkirk and Reay, and in the
southern extremity of the parish of Thurso, of which the
Earl Marischal and Lord Oliphant were superiors ; and it
is stated that they can be traced in possession of Quoy-
crook, part of Braal, Scotscalder, and North Calder,
Lieurary, Brubster, Soure or Shurery, Braalbin, Gerston,
Comlie-foot, Housell, Drakress, Olganymore, Sibmister
(Sibster), and Sordale. But what portion of these lands,
with the exception of Quoycrook, they held by a heritable
title, is said not to have been ascertained.
William Buey M'lver had several sons, but there is
uncertainty as to their names. By one of them, Donald,
he had three grandsons :
1. Patrick Buey Campbell of Quoycrook. This was
a family possession, recovered by him in 1657, and
of which he obtained a new charter in 1674. It is
the same place to which, under the name of
Quarry crook, Kenneth M'lver had acquired a
THE CAMPBELLS AND MOVERS OR IVERACHS. 277
2. Farquhar Campbell or M'lver, in Eumsdale. He The Campbells
, , TTT-ii* and M'lvers or
had a son, William.
3. Alexander Campbell of Comlie-foot, near Halkirk.
He had a wadset of these lands, dated 6th March
1682. He married Agnes Charleson, and had at
least two sons and a daughter : Donald Camp-
bell, in Stainland and Aimster, chamberlain to
Lord Breadalbane ; John Campbell in Comlie-
foot ; and Isabel, who married, in 1700, William
Davidson, in Buckies. The following inscription
is to be seen on a gravestone in the kirkyard of
Halkirk : " Here lyes Alexander Campbell of
Comilfiet, who died 10 Nov. 1693." An adjoin-
ing stone marks the grave of his brother,
Patrick Buey Campbell married Helen Bayne, of the
Baynes of Bylbster, or of Clyth, and had an only son,
Donald, and several daughters, of whom one married
Murdoch Campbell, in Brubster, and another, named
Anna, married her cousin-german, William, tacksman of
Eumsdale, in 1697, son of Farquhar Campbell or M'lver.
In 1705, Helen Bayne, then relict of Patrick Buey
Campbell, executed a renunciation of part of Quoycrook
in favour of her nephew, Donald, the son of Alexander
Campbell of Comliefoot ; and in the same year she dis-
poned her liferent in certain other lands to her son-in-
law, Murdoch Campbell, in Brubster.
From Donald Buey Campbell of Quoycrook, the son
278 THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVEKS OR IVERACHS.
The Campbells of Patrick, are descended the Campbells of Duchernan,
' ' lli Argyle. Vide Principal Campbell's "Account."
The Iverachs of Caithness are sub-cadets of the
M'lvers Buey, and during last century they, for several
generations, occupied lands at Braehour, Clayock, and
Lieurary. From William Iverach, in Sordale, the repre-
sentative of this branch in the earlier part of last
century, are descended Messrs. Peter Iverach in Weydale,
James Iverach in Harpsdale, and William Iverach of
Wideford, in Orkney.
The Campbells, who were for the first half of last
century Heritable Commissary and Sheriff Clerks of
Caithness, are also supposed to have been sub-cadets of
the Buey Campbells, and are believed to be descended
from the family of Quoycrook, their immediate ancestor,
Donald Campbell, younger, merchant in Thurso, having
been, it is thought, a younger son of William Buey
M'lver, or of John, his brother. Donald Campbell had
three sons :
1. James, merchant in Thurso, who died unmarried.
2. William, Sheriff-Clerk, of whom afterwards.
3. John Campbell of Castlehill, which he purchased
from Lord Breadalbane in 1711. He was also
Commissary and Sheriff Clerk. He married
Anne, daughter of William Sinclair of Rattar,
and widow of Robert Sinclair of Durran. By her
he had a son, Colin, who died without issue ;
and two daughters, Isabel, who married James
THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVERS OR 1VERACHS. 279
Campbell of Balbreck, or perhaps Barbreck, in The Campbells
Argyle ; and Janet, who married James Budge of i ve rachs.
Toftingall, and had no issue.
On the death of their brother, Colin, the two sisters
succeeded to Castlehill, and sold it to David Murray.
On or near the site of the present House of Castlehill
stood the Old Castle of Stangergill, the original name of
the property, and after the erection of the new House
the estate got the name of Castlehill.
William Campbell (No. 2) was twice married ; first,
to Elizabeth, daughter of James Murray of Pennyland,
by whom he had a son, Donald.
By his second wife, Helen Mudy or Helen Mowat, he
had six sons :
1. James, Sheriff-Clerk, and of Lochend, which he
purchased, in 1749, from James Sutherland of
Swinzie, for 20,000 merks, the rental being 50.
He was served heir to his father, and married,
first, Mary, daughter of John Sinclair of Forss ;
and, secondly, Isabella, daughter of the Reverend
James Oswald, episcopal minister of Watten.
He died in 1766, leaving two sons, William and
Oswald, who both died unmarried, the latter in
1776; and a daughter, Elizabeth, also supposed
to have died unmarried. William and Elizabeth
are mentioned in Bishop Forbes's diary in 1762.
2. William, immediate younger brother of James, was
secretary to Admiral Vernon, and by his wife,
280 THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVERS OR IVERACHS.
The Campbells Philadelphia, he had a son, Captain Alexander
iverachs. Campbell, E.N. Captain Campbell had a son,
Alexander, who was served heir to his grand-
uncle, James of Lochend, in 1777, and who sold
Lochend, in 1778, to William Sinclair of Fres-
wick, for 2015. Alexander died before 1787,
leaving a widow, named Susannah Poole, who
was his executrix.
3. John. }
4. Patrick. > These three died without issue.
5. Colin. )
6. Hugo Campbell, brother-german of James and
William, was joint Sheriff-Clerk with James.
He married Jean, daughter of John Sinclair of
Forss, and had two sons, John, and Rose, a
merchant, who died in Spain unmarried; and
two daughters, Isabella, who died unmarried,
and Eliza, who married, first, Alexander Suther-
land, merchant in London, son of Bailie George
Sutherland, Wick, and, secondly, John Grant,
illegitimate son of Mr. John Grant of Latheron-
wheel, which estate he occupied under a wadset.
Mr. Grant entered the army, and obtained the
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Portuguese
service. He had no issue by his marriage to
From an account of " Rossend Castle," near Burnt-
island, which, together with some adjacent . land, was
THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVERS OR IV^EACHS. 281
purchased by the Town Council of that place, in January The Campbells
1873, for 7500, it appears to have been a place of much ^
historical interest. In 1715 the Castle was occupied by
the Earl of Mar and his troops, and about half a century
later (1765) it was in the possession of "Murdoch
Campbell of the Caithness Campbells." There is no
doubt this was Murdoch Campbell, sometime writer and
merchant in Thurso.
In 1750 Mr. Campbell purchased a portion of a tene-
ment in Thurso called Bruce's Tenement, and in the
disposition he is designed " writer in Thurso." In 1752
the remainder of Bruce's tenement was purchased by
Murdoch Campbell, " merchant in Thurso/' The identity
of the "writer" and the "merchant" is undoubted, for,
in the disposition in 1752, reference is made to Mr.
Campbell's previous purchase in 1750 ; and in 1776, in
a disposition by him of the whole tenement to Alexander
Duncan, merchant in Thurso, which was signed at Burnt-
island, he is designed " Murdoch Campbell of Rossend."
At what period Mr. Campbell left Thurso has not been
In the account of Rossend, Mr. Campbell is stated to
have married Margaret, daughter of John Taylor of
Pitcairlie, and the heiress of Carbiston ; but in the dis-
position in 1750, his wife, to whom the tenement then
purchased was conveyed in liferent, is named Rachel
Taylor. He seems to have had an only child, a daughter,
who, in 1790, married Robert Beatson of Kilrie, and of
282 THE CAMPBELLS AND M'lVEKS OR IVERACHS.
The Campbells the Boyal Engineers ; and she inherited Bossend.
iverachs. These Taylors and Beatsons did not belong to Caithness.
Bobert Beatson succeeded to Bossend through his mar-
riage to Mr. Campbell's only daughter.
It has been supposed that Murdoch Campbell, writer,
was a grandson of Murdoch in Brubster, the son-in-law,
and perhaps the nephew (as supposed), of Patrick Buey
Campbell of Quarrycrook, and son of William Campbell,
called William Beag, or Dorcry, afterwards in Brubster,
who was not improbably a brother, and certainly a near
relative of Patrick Buey Campbell of Quarrycrook,
Farquhar (M'lver) in Bumsdale, and Alexander Camp-
bell of Comliefoot. It is certain that Murdoch Campbell
in Brubster had at least one son, for, as appears from a
contract of marriage in July 1721, William Campbell, his
son, married Janet, daughter of Sir James Sinclair of
Dunbeath. She is supposed to have been an illegitimate
daughter, as Sir James did not marry earlier than 1705,
and there is no mention of this daughter otherwise.
William Campbell was at the time of his marriage in
Milton of Dunbeath, and in 1753 he was in Wester-
Lather on. In 1733 he got a wadset from Sir James
over Milbuy of Houstry, to himself and his wife, and
their eldest son, James, afterwards in Dysart ; and it may
be that Murdoch Campbell of Bossend was another of his
sons. When a young man, Murdoch appears to have
been a clerk in the office of James and Hugo Campbell,
the supposed connections of his family.
THE HENDERSONS OF STEMSTEE.
THE traditional account of the Caithness Hendersons The Henderson*
is that they are descended from Henry Gunn, a younger ot
son of George Gunn, who was chief of the clan in the
fifteenth century. After the slaughter of their chief and
several of his sons in a combat with the Keiths, a family
difference led to Henry separating himself from his sur-
viving brothers, and settling in the lowlands of Caith-
ness. In 1594 we find mention of a champion of the clan
Gunn, named Donald Mac- William Mac-Hendric, who may
have Had something to say in the matter of the Hender-
son patronymic ; but the popular account is, as has been
said, that they are the descendants of Henry Gunn.
I. DONALD HENDERSON, who was in Stemster in
1680, had two sons :
1. David, who is said to have settled in Zetland.
II. In the year 1700 ALEXANDER HENDERSON got a
general disposition of moveables from his father (who
appears to have been in easy circumstances), and in 1706
he resided in Lochside. He married Anna or Agnes
284 THE HENDERSONS OF STEMSTER.
rhe Hendersons Murray, sister-german of Ranald Murray, in Bowertower.
In 1726 he was tacksman of Stemster, and in 1736 he
became tenant of Gerston, where he resided till his
death in 1743.
He had an only son and four, if not five, daughters :
1. Christian, who married, in 1726, Francis Swanson,
son of William Swanson in Stemster, who be-
came tenant of Gerston in 1751 or 1752, and
whose descendants were the tenants till 1872.
2. Margaret, who married Adam Henderson, son of
Benjamin Henderson in Achalibster, from whom
are descended the family of Hendersons, some-
time in Clyth.
3. Anne, who married Donald Henderson, second
laird of Westerdale.
4. Barbara, the youngest daughter, who married, in
1751, Alexander Sinclair, the last laird of Dun,
being his second wife. She had no issue.
5. There seems to have been in 1754 another daugh-
ter named Elizabeth, who was apparently then
III. DAVID HENDERSON occupied the farm of Gerston
for some time after 1748, and in 1750 he purchased
Stemster from Sir Benjamin Sinclair for 21,500 merks.
He married Cecilia, daughter of William Honyman of
Grsemsay, another of whose daughters was married to
THE HENDERSONS OF STEMSTER. 285
Taylor of Thura, and a third daughter to the Reverend The Hendersons
Mr. Nicolson of Shebster. of stemster>
The Honymans claim to be descended, in the female
line, from Robert Stewart, first Earl of Orkney, natural
son of James v., whose grand-daughter, Mary, was
married to Stewart of Graemsay. Their only daughter
and heiress, Mary, married Andrew Honyman, who was
Bishop of Orkney from 1664 to 1676 ; and the Bishop
was grandfather of William Honyman of Graemsay.
Bishop Honyman was a son of David Honyman of
Pitcairchney, and he had a brother, George, who was
minister of Stromness 1 in 1672. The Bishop "did many
good and charitable deeds/' including the slating and
repairing of the church of Sand wick, and died in 1676.
David Henderson of Stemster had four sons and
three daughters :
2. Alexander, his successor.
3. Patrick, who died in Demerara.
4. John, who died in Jamaica.
1. Mary, who married the Reverend Robert Gunn,
minister of Latheron.
2. Anne, who married, in 1779, the Reverend William
Gunn, minister of Golspie from 1776 to 1785,
when he died. She lived until 1841.
3. Margaret, who died unmarried, in 1864, aged
1 " Fasti Eccles. Scot."
286 THE HENDERSONS OF STEMSTEE.
The Hendersons IV. ALEXANDER HENDERSON OF STEMSTER was in
early life for a short time in the Royal Navy. He
married Margaret, daughter of William Duthie of Ar-
duthie, and he had five sons and four daughters :
1. David, his successor, retired from the army as
captain in 1816.
2. Alexander Davidson, who was in the Indian Army,
and was drowned in the Persian Gulf.
3. William Honyman, C.B., who was a post-captain
in the Royal Navy, and died in November 1855.
He married Elizabeth, widow of Lord James
Townshend, K.C.H. He had no issue.
4. James, of Bilbster and Rosebank, Wick, who
married Elizabeth, daughter of Kenneth M'Leay
of Newmore, and has issue, two sons and four
daughters, and who died 1879, aged eighty-one.
5. Patrick, who was major in the Indian Army, and
died in 1873 unmarried.
1. Margaret, who died in 1879 unmarried.
2. Mary, who married Charles Chalmers of Monkshill,
Esq., advocate, Aberdeen, and had issue.
3. Johanna, died 1880, unmarried.
V. DAVID HENDERSON OF STEMSTER married Marjory,
eldest daughter of Colonel Benjamin Williamson of
Banniskirk. He died in 1859, and had three sons and
four daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son,
THE HENDERSONS OF STEMSTER. 287
Alexander Henderson, now of Stemster, who married The Hendersons
Susan, daughter of Allan M'Farlane, Esq., and his wife,
Margaret, daughter of John Home, Esq. of Stirkoke, and
has issue. 1
1 The family of Stemster is con- Langwell and Forse and Sinclairs of
nected through Mrs. Marjory William- Southdun and Ulbster.
son with the families of Sutherlands of
THE HENDEESONS OF ACHALIBSTER AND
The Hendersons FROM the middle of the seventeenth century to the
and wester- early part of the eighteenth, we find various Hendersons,
such as Hendersons, portioners of Brabsterdorran from
1642 to 1695; Hendersons in Wester Nottingham, and
in Rumster and Rangag, on the estate of Forse, and
wadsetters of Gersay in Watten from 1655 to 1738,
supposed to be descended from the Hendersons of
Brabsterdorran; Hendersons in Stemster, from 1680
downwards ; and Hendersons in Sibster, afterwards in
Achalibster and Westerdale, from 1660; and it is
probable that they were all more or less related,
although it may now be difficult to trace a common
From Donald Henderson, who, when in Sibster,
married Elizabeth Sinclair, daughter of Robert, fourth son
of James Sinclair of Borlum and Thura, are descended the
Hendersons of Achalibster and Westerdale. Donald
Henderson was in Achalibster in 1660, and then got
from the Earl of Caithness a wadset for a thousand
merks of the twopenny-halfpenny lands of Westerdale,
THE HENDERSONS OF ACHALIBSTER AND WESTERDALE. 289
the halfpenny lands of Croft of Dale and Southside of The Hendersons
-T-, p TT i i of Achalibster
Burn of Ulgrimbeg. ^ Wester .
He had two sons and a daughter :
2. David, first of Westerdale.
1. Janet, who is mentioned as " daughter of Donald
Henderson in Achalibster and Elizabeth Sinclair."
She married Adam Sutherland in Lang well,
second son of William Sutherland of Langwell.
I. ROBERT HENDERSON possessed in 1699 the two-
penny lands of Westerdale, and in 1703 he is named
as portioner of Dale. He married Anna Dunbar, an
illegitimate daughter of Sir William Dunbar of Hemp-
riggs, who, in 1701, granted to him and his wife and
their first and second sons, William and Benjamin, a
wadset of the twopence-halfpenny lands of Tormsdale.
In 1718 Sir William Dunbar, as Justiciary Depute and
Sheriff of Caithness, appointed him Procurator- Fiscal of
the county. In so far as appears, his children were :
1. William in Achaldall, now called wadset lands of
Westerdale, and in Tormsdale in 1725 and 1726,
which he possessed as heir to his father in the
wadset. He gave a lease of Tormsdale to his
Benjamin Henderson possessed Achalibster, and
290 THE HENDERSONS OF ACHALIBSTER AND WESTERDALE.
The Hendersons married in 1716 his cousin-german, Esther, daughter of
and wester- Adam Sutherland in Langwell, and grand-daughter of
dale. William Sutherland of Langwell. He died before 1739,
leaving a son, Adam.
Lieutenant Adam Henderson in Achaldall or wadset
lands, was in 1749 tacksman of Achinarras. In 1739 he
married Margaret, daughter of Alexander Henderson in
Stemster and Gerston, and had with her a tocher of one
thousand merks. He had a son and two daughters :
1. Esther, who lived with her mother for many years
2. Janet, better known as "Miss Jenny," who died
in Edinburgh at an advanced age.
Benjamin Henderson was tacksman of Clyth, and
married his relative, Elizabeth, daughter of James Suther-
land of Swiney, a great-great-grand-daughter of William
Sutherland of Langwell. He had four sons and six
1. John, who was drowned in Wick Bay along with
his mother about 1806.
2. Adam, who went to the West Indies.
3. Dr. James, who occupied Clyth for many years,
and down to 18 . He carried on a herring
fishery extensively, and expended considerable
sums on the harbour and farm of Clyth. Before
settling in Clyth he was acting assistant-surgeon
in the 3d Foot for some years, and afterwards he
THE HENDERSONS OF ACHALIBSTEK AND WESTEBDALE. 291
acquired considerable reputation in the north as The Hendersons
a medical practitioner. A few years before his [ 1( f welter-**
death, which took place at Glasgow on llth dale '
April 1848, he took the degree of M.D. at the
University of Edinburgh.
4. William was a gentleman of some literary acquire-
ments, and was for many years engaged in
various educational establishments in Scotland
and England. Ultimately he went to Bombay
as a teacher in one of the Church of Scotland
schools. At the Disruption, in 1843, he joined
the Free Church, but falling into bad health he
returned to England, where he died unmarried
about 1849 or 1850.
Benjamin Henderson's daughters were Jean, Mar-
garet, Anne, Elizabeth, Jessie, Alexis, and Benjamina,
all of whom died unmarried. Alexis, his last surviving
daughter, died at Barnstaple on 25th March 1874, and
the family is now extinct.
II. DAVID HENDERSON, the second son, as is sup-
posed, of Donald in Achalibster and wadset lands of
Westerdale, got from Lord Glenorchy, in 1708, a charter
of the sevenpenny and two farthing and an octo lands
of Westerdale. He had a son, Donald.
Donald Henderson of Westerdale married Anne,
daughter of Alexander Henderson in Stemster and
Gerston, He had a son, Alexander.
292 THE HENDERSON'S OF ACHALIBSTER AND WESTERDALE.
The Hendersons Alexander Henderson married Janet Campbell of
and^welter-^ the Campbells in Ausdale, and had three sons and a
dale - daughter :
1. Donald, who married and left issue, but did not
gucceed to Westerdale.
2. William, who occupied during his lifetime Upper
Westerdale, and died unmarried.
3. David of Westerdale, to which by some family
arrangement he got a disposition from his grand-
' father. He occupied Ballintunich or Lower
Westerdale, and died in 1860 unmarried.
1. Elizabeth, who married William Angus, Thurso,
and left no issue.
THE HENDERSONS OF NOTTINGHAM
AFTER the middle of the seventeenth century we find The Hendersons
frequent mention of William Henderson of Nottingham, and Gersay. &m
he being the same person who, as William Rorisone,
married, in 1655, Janet Gordon, relict of James Suther-
land of Forse. After her first husband's death Janet
Gordon was styled "Lady Nottingham," having, no
doubt, had the liferent of these lands, and thus Wil-
liam Henderson was also designed of Nottingham. He
appears to have been a person of some substance, from
the bonds and obligations to him appearing on the
records, and from the traditional account of his family
he seems to have been the son of Roderick Henderson
(whence his surname of Rorisone), who was the eldest
son of Hugh Henderson, one of the portioners who
possessed at one time the lands of Brabsterdorran. His
contract of marriage is dated 31st January 1655, and in
1676 he obtained a wadset from Lord Glenorchy of the
feu and teind duties of Gersay and Coghill in Watten,
to himself in liferent and to his son, John, in fee.
By Janet Gordon he had two sons, John and David.
294 THE HENDERSONS OF NOTTINGHAM AND GERSAY.
The Hendersons As fiar under the wadset in 1676 John was styled of
LdGenay. Gersay ; and dying without issue, he was succeeded by
David Henderson of Gersay married in 1680 Margaret,
daughter of Colonel Francis Sinclair in Scrabster (son of
John Sinclair, first of Assery) and his wife, Anne,
daughter of Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke. In his con-
tract of marriage (June 1680) he is called "lawful son of
William Henderson of Nottingham and Janet Gordon."
In 1689 and 1697 he disponed the wadset to Sir
Robert Dunbar of Northfield, and of the subsequent
history of his family there is no account.
THE WILLIAMSONS OF BANNISKIEK.
THE ancestor of this family appears to have been The wiiiiam-
Andrew Williamson of Achorlie, who got a feu-charter of kirk,
these lancfs from the Earl of Caithness in 1665. He is
said to have fought at Aultimarloch, on the side of the
Sinclairs, and to have been killed there, and his body
carried for burial to Spittal, where the Gunns (from
whom the Williamsons are reputed to be descended) had
I. DONALD WILLIAMSON, son of Andrew Williamson
of Achorlie, was a merchant in Thurso, and in 1691 and
1692 he was a bailie of the town. He purchased Bannis-
kirk in 1691, and the present estate of Banniskirk
includes Achorlie. He married Katharine Borison,
sister of Bailie Rorison, merchant in Thurso, and had a
son and a daughter :
1. Benjamin, his successor.
I. Janet, who, in 1713, married Malcolm Henderson,
in Stemster, Reay. He had a son, Adam, who
was in Stemster in 1753.
II. BENJAMIN WILLIAMSON OF BANNISKIRK married
296 THE WILLIAMSONS OF BANN1SKIRK.
The wniiam- Elizabeth Sutherland, daughter of Esther and Robert
kirk. * Sutherland of Langwell, and had a son and four
1. Donald, his successor.
1. Elizabeth, who married William Campbell, some-
time in Upper Framside, and had several
children, one of whom, the late Donald Camp-
bell, sometime in Harland, entered the army as
a volunteer during the Peninsular War, and
attained the rank of lieutenant- colonel. He died
at Creich, Sutherlandshire, unmarried.
2. Jane, married Lieut. William Rose, Thurso, and
had a son, William Rose, a merchant in Glasgow,
and three daughters, Elizabeth and Benja-
minina, who died unmarried, and Jane, who
married Dr. John Williamson.
3. Another daughter married John Dunnet, a ship-
master in Thurso, son of Bailie George Dunnet,
merchant in Thurso. They had no issue.
4. Another daughter married, first, Donald Hender-
son, a merchant in Thurso, and had a son,
Benjamin, a messenger-at-arms ; and second,
John Barnetson, tenant in Galshfield, by whom
she had a son, the late Lieutenant Alexander
Barnetson, sometime in Mains of Tister.
III. DONALD WILLIAMSON or BANNISKIBK married
Isabell Ramsay, second daughter of James Ramsay of
THE WILLIAMSONS OF BANNISKIRK. 297
Chappletown of Meigle, merchant in Dundee, and Jhad
five sons and four daughters :- sons
2. Major James, who married Barbara Gibson,
daughter of George Gibson, merchant in Thurso,
and had issue, a son and two daughters.
3. Donald, who died in the West Indies.
4. John, a surgeon in the army, who married Jane
Rose, his cousin, but of whom there is no
5. Major George, married Catharine, daughter of
James Sinclair of Harpsdale and his third
wife, Katharine, daughter of Alexander Sinclair
of Lybster. He had three sons and three
daughters. The sons were, Donald, who died
unmarried ; James of Banniskirk (which he
purchased in 1862), who married Margaret,
daughter of David Henderson of Stemster, and
died in 1865, leaving two sons ; and George.
1. Margaret, who married John Sutherland of
2. Elizabeth, who married John Home of Stirkoke,
and had issue.
3. Isabella, who married Capt. William Manson, and
4. Jean, who married Alexander Paterson in Penny-
land, agent for the Bank of Scotland, and had
298 THE WILLIAMSONS OF BANNISKIRK.
The William- IV. COLONEL BENJAMIN "WILLIAMSON OF BANNISKIRK
Mrk. '" married Janet, daughter of James Sinclair of Harpsdale
and his first wife, Marjory, daughter of David Sinclair
of Southdun, through whom he got the lands of Scarm-
clett and Clayock, afterwards named " Marlefield." He
had two sons and three daughters :
1. James, captain in the 94th Regiment. He was
killed at the storming of Ciudad-Rodrigo, in
2. Donald, major in the 42d Regiment. He was
killed at Burgos in 1812.
1. Marjory, who married David Henderson of
2. Diana, who died unmarried in 1872.
3. Jessie, who married, first, John Macleay of Keiss,
and, second, Alexander Henderson of Stemster.
She had no issue by either marriage.
THE TAYLORS OF THUEA.
WILLIAM TAYLOR, merchant in Thurso, who, about The Taylors of
the middle of the seventeenth century, led apprisings
against th'e estate of Assery, had a son, John, who was a
joiner in Thurso. John got an assignation to his father's
apprisings in Asserj. He had two sons :
I. DANIEL TAYLOR, merchant in Thurso, was infeft in
the Assery apprisings, and in 1754 he purchased
Thura from John Sinclair, last of Thura, and dis-
poned it in 1759 to his brother, George.
II. GEORGE TAYLOR OF THURA married Euphemia,
daughter of William Honyman of Graemsay,
and had two sons and a daughter :
1. John, his successor.
2. William, who died in the West Indies.
1. Jane, who married Lieutenant M'Beath.
III. JOHN TAYLOR or THURA was served heir to his
300 THE TAYLORS OF THURA.
The Taylors of father in 1790, and was captain in one of the Caithness
Fencible battalions. In 1801 he sold Thura to William
Sinclair of Freswick, and settled in Ireland. He left
three children, who, in 1868, resided in Dublin. They
A Mr. Taylor of Phibsboro House, Dublin, who died
lately at an advanced age, was a natural son of
Captain John Taylor, last of Thura. He was in
early life a schoolmaster in the county ; and for
many years he had been in the habit of sending
communications to the local papers. In 1868 a
notice appeared from Captain Taylor's family
denying Mr. Taylor's pretensions to be con-
sidered "the last of the Taylors of Thura," and
asserting themselves to be "the only legal repre-
sentatives of his name."
THE DAVIDSONS OF ACHINGILLS
AND BUCK IE S.
JOHN DAVIDSON, Commissary of Caithness, who died The Davidsons
before 1632, had two sons :
1. William, who, in 1632, was served heir to Samuel
Davidson, residing in France, son of the deceased
Mr. Archibald Davidson, his cousin-german, in
the " Fischill in Thurso."
JOHN DAVIDSON got a wadset of Achingills from the
Master ofBerriedale in 1633. In the same year David
Munro, then Commissary of Caithness, got a wadset of
half of Aimster and Buckies, and in 1659 John Davidson
adjudged this wadset from George, son of David Munro ;
and in 1691 he got a charter of adjudication. He had
two sons :
1. James, his successor.
2. William, who married Janet Scobie. She survived
him, and had a liferent of Aimster and Buckies.
JAMES DAVIDSON got an assignation from his father
302 THE DAVIDSONS OF ACHINGILLS AND BUCKIES.
The Davidsons of his adjudication of Aimster and Buckies, and he also
and Buckles! succeeded to Achingills. In 1697 he disponed the whole
to William Sinclair of Stemster, third son of William
Sinclair of Dunbeath. He was a writer in Edinburgh,
and had a daughter.
In 1675 Buckies was occupied by George Davidson,
who is mentioned in that year in the decreet at Mey's
instance against the heritors and others of Caithness.
The family tradition is that he was of the Achingills
Davidsons, and if so, he was probably the son of William
Davidson, whose widow had the liferent of Buckies and
Aimster. In 1682 he was admitted an elder by the
Bishop and Session of Thurso. He was succeeded in the
farm by his son, William. In 1700 William Davidson
married Isabel Campbell, daughter of Alexander Camp-
bell of Comliefoot, her brothers, Donald Campbell in Stain-
land, chamberlain to Lord Glenorchy, and John Campbell
in Comliefoot, being parties to the contract of marriage.
James Davidson succeeded his father, William, and he
again was succeeded by his son, the late John Davidson,
and thus from at least 1675 Buckies has been continuously
occupied by the Davidsons.
In the Old Kirk of Thurso, and in the place where
once stood the Buckies pew, there is an ancient and
handsome gravestone, now embedded in the soil. At the
top there are armorial bearings, with the motto " Vivat
post funera virtus," and underneath the following in-
THE DAVIDSONS OF ACHINGILLS AND BUCKIES. 303
Heir lyes ane famous man The Davidsons
Adam Davidsoun Burgess of of Achingiiis
T j 11 rru and Buckles.
Inverness Indweller in Ihurso
who departed in June 1587
being 6 6 yeires of age
And heir lyes Katharine
Sinclair his Spous who departed
in May 1592 being 70
yeires of age
The Gibsons. THIS family, originally from Edinburgh, is chiefly
connected with Orkney, where several members of it
settled as ministers.
JOHN GIBSON, of Edinburgh, had four sons :
1. Alexander, Dean of Bower and Watten.
2. Adam, minister of Shapinsay from 1665 to 1678,
when he died.
3. John, minister of Holm from 1654 to 1681.
4. Archibald, Writer to the Signet, 1660.
ALEXANDER GIBSON, Dean of Bower and Watten from
1668 to 1682, married Katharine, eldest daughter of
James Sinclair of Assery, and had four sons and a
1. Alexander, minister of Canisbay.
2. John, minister of Evie and Kendall from 1700 to
1724, when he died.
3. Archibald of Hemisgar.
4. George, a merchant, who married Katharine,
daughter of Bailie Rorison, Thurso. Before her
marriage to Mr. Gibson, Katharine Rorison had
THE GIBSONS. 305
formed an attachment and engaged herself to The Gibsons.
John Gow or Smith, a native of Scrabster, whose
piratical exploits in the early part of last century
suggested Sir Walter Scott's tale of " The
Pirate." At what period of Gow's career this
love affair took place is uncertain, but at any
rate the Bailie disapproved of his daughter's choice,
and while Gow was absent at sea, obliged her to
listen to the addresses of her future husband,
then schoolmaster at Strom a. The marriage had
scarcely taken place when Gow returned to
Thurso, bringing bridal dresses for his betrothed,
who, even as matters then stood, would gladly
have gone off with him. Gow departed highly
incensed, and after Katharine E/orison had settled
down in Stroma, he visited the island with the
intention of carrying her off, or having his
revenge, but he left again without doing any
mischief. She had two sons to Mr. Gibson, and
after his death resided at or near Banniskirk, her
aunt, Katharine Rorison, having married Donald
Williamson, the first Williamson of Banniskirk.
These particulars were given to the late Dr. P. B.
Henderson by Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair, widow
of the Eeverend Alexander Smith, minister of
Olrig, who died at Thurso 15th October 1831,
aged eighty-eight, and who was personally ac-
quainted with Katharine Rorison. In a note to
306 THE GIBSONS.
The Gibsons. " The Pirate " Gow is mentioned as having been
a native of Orkney, but this is believed to be
incorrect. A narrative of his piratical proceed-
ings will be found in Johnston's " Lives of High-
waymen," and similar chronicles. There are other
interesting particulars in the Notes and Advertise-
ment to the " Pirate." In 1725 Gow and several
of his associates were convicted at London by
'.''- ;J the High Court of Admiralty, and deservedly
1. Elizabeth, who married George Sinclair in Brabster-
Alexander Gibson, the eldest son, was minister of
Canisbay from 1713 to 1747, when he died. He mar-
ried Margaret, daughter of John Sinclair of Rattar, and
widow of Alexander Sinclair of Brabster. He had two
1. John, sometime a writer in Edinburgh, and
who, about 1750, was appointed Sheriff-Sub-
stitute of the county by Mr. Brodie of Spynie,
then Sheriff. He married Margaret, daughter
of James Murray of Clairden, and widow of
David Sinclair of Southdun, and died without
2. George, a merchant in Thurso, who married Janet
Sinclair, daughter of John Sinclair and Eliza-
beth Man son (vide Mansons). He had two
daughters, Margaret, who married her cousin,
THE GIBSONS. 307
George Sinclair of Brabster, and Barbara, The Gibsons.
who married Major James Williamson, and
had issue a son (who died unmarried), and two
TheBrodies. I. IN the Matriculation Records of King's College,
Aberdeen, there is an entry of " Alexander Brodie,
Moraviensis," in 1677, which it is supposed refers to the
Reverend ALEXANDER BRODIE, who was licensed by the
Presbytery of Abernethy in 1711, called, and ordained
as minister of Kildonan 18th September 1712, and trans-
lated to Reay in 1723, where he died in 1730, leaving a
II. The Reverend JAMES BRODIE was licensed by the
Presbytery of Aberdeen, and was settled as minister of
Latheron in May 1734. He died at Aberdeen in 1775,
in the sixty-seventh year of his age.
In 1735 he married Anne, daughter of James Murray
of Clairden and his third wife, Margaret, daughter of
George Sinclair of Barrock. She died in 1766. They had
six sons and a daughter :
1. Samuel, born 1736, and died young.
2. Alexander, born 1737.
3. Patrick, born 1743.
4. James, born 1745, and died young.
THE BUDDIES. 309
5. George, born 1747, and died young. The Brodies.
6. Bichard, born 1752.
1. Margaret, born 1739.
III. ALEXANDER BRODIE, the eldest surviving son, was
minister of Carnbee, in Fife, and married Helen Pitcairn,
daughter of the Reverend Joseph Pitcairn, Carnbee. He
died in 1804, having had four sons and three daughters :
1. James, Brigadier-General and Colonel in the East
India Company's Service, Madras, and Com-
mander of the Bath, who was born in 1782, and
died in 1831. He married Eliza Thompson, and
had two sons: James, who died in 1849, un-
married, and Alexander Oswald, sometime of the
Ceylon Civil Service, who married Jessie Anne
Spottiswoode, daughter of Colonel Spottiswoode,
and died at Edinburgh 6th November 1874,
2. Joseph, a merchant in Hamburg, who married
Maria Thomson, and died in 1825, leaving issue.
3. Alexander Oswald, a merchant in America, who
married Eustachia Griffiths, and died in Scotland
in 1856, without issue.
4. Edward, who died without issue.
1. Janet, who married Duncan Cowan, Edinburgh,
and left four daughters : (1) Marjory, unmarried.
(2) Janet, who married General Charles Wahab,
H.E.I.C.S., and hasfissue. (3) Helen, who mar-
310 THE BUDDIES.
ried Henry Madden, M.D., and left issue. (4)
Charlotte, who married James Cowan, Lord Pro-
vost of Edinburgh, and M.P. for the city.
2. Elizabeth, who died unmarried.
3. Helen, who married Alexander Cowan, Edinburgh,
and left issue.
IV. PATRICK BRODIE, third son of the Reverend
James Brodie, Latheron, married, in 1768, Jean Sinclair
(vide Hansons), and had three sons and five daughters :
1. David, who purchased Sibster, thereafter named
Hopeville, and married Helen, daughter of James
Sinclair of Harpsdale, and his third wife, Katha-
rine, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Lybster.
He died in 1847, aged 75. He had five sons
and five daughters.
2. James, who died young.
3. Alexander, who married Flora, daughter of Bailie
Kenneth Sutherland, Thurso, and had five sons
and five daughters. He died in 1859, aged 82.
1 . Jean, who married the Reverend George Mackenzie,
Olrig, and had issue, She died in 1802, aged 33.
2. Janet, who died young.
3. Margaret, who died unmarried, in 1856, aged 82.
4. Anne, who was born 28th February 1779, and who
died in 1813. She was married to William
Henderson, Sheriff- Substitute of Caithness, and
had seven sons and five daughters.
THE BRODIES. 311
5. Elizabeth, who married William Manson, writer in ^e Brodies.
Thurso, and died, without issue, in 1832, aged 50.
V. I)R. RICHARD BRODIE, the youngest son of the
Keverend James Brodie, went to the West Indies, where
VI. MARGARET, the only daughter, married John
Grant of Latheronwheel, of which he was wadsetter. She
died without issue.
rhe Mansons. THIS name is of frequent occurrence in the county and
in remote times. Thus we have Kenneth, Donald, and
William Manson, the three portioners of the whole of
Lyth, by charter in 1524; and there are Mansons,
portioners of Kirk in 1531, at which date John and
Magnus Manson got a charter 1 of confirmation from
the Pope's Legate, Silvester Darius. In 1576 the
Mansons were of some note, a number of the name
having signed a bond of manrent to George Sinclair of
Mey. These notes, however, are confined to a more
recent branch of the family, and the pedigree now given
was proved in Chancery in 1853, in a suit at the instance
of Mr. Anderson, executor of Margaret Manson of London,
against her next-of-kin.
James Manson, who resided in Watten, had five sons
and two daughters :
5. Charles, who died at sea.
1 Charter, Andrew, B. of Caithness,
THE HANSONS. 313
1. Elizabeth. The Hansons.
2. Christian, who died unmarried.
I. ALEXANDER MANSON was a merchant in Thurso,
and married Elizabeth Munro. As appears from a tomb-
stone to his memory in the Oswalds' burying-ground in
Thurso churchyard, he died in 17 . He had a son :
James, a merchant in Rotterdam, who was born in
1726, and died in 1788. He married Margaret
Gay, by whom he had a son, William, who died
at Curaoa in 1801, without issue; and a
daughter, Margaret, who died in London in
June 1849. She is the person referred to above,
whose succession gave rise to the Chancery suit.
II. WILLIAM MANSON was a merchant in Eotterdam,
and died a bachelor in London, in July 1767. Under
his settlement the descendants of his sisters were
III. JOHN MANSON was a ship -carpenter at Rother-
hithe, and married Ursula Cobham. He died in 1772,
having had two sons and a daughter :
1. Alexander, a shipwright at Bermondsey, who
married Jean Bowie, and died in 1828. He had
four sons and a daughter. The sons were : John
and Robert, who both died in India in 1818;
David, who died young, and Alexander, Brigadier-
314 THE MANSONS.
The Hansons. General in the Bombay Artillery, who died at
Bombay in 1862. Alexander had three chil-
dren : Alexander R Manson, major in the 4th
Bombay Infantry ; Charles James Manson,
Acting Political Agent, South Mahratta Country,
who was killed in the Indian Mutiny, in May
1859, at Ramdroag; and Mary Anne Jane, who
was married to Major Alexander Cunningham
Eobertson of the 8th Eegiment.
2. William, who married Mary Gregory, and died in
1840, aged 88. He had a son, John Jasper, who
died in 1826 leaving issue, and a daughter,
Mary Ursula, who died in 1777.
1. Mary, who married William Lang, and died in
IV. DAVID MANSON was a merchant in Thurso, and
married Jean, daughter of George Oswald, minister of
Dunnet. He died without issue.
V. ELIZABETH MANSON married John Sinclair in
Watten, and had four daughters :
1. Isabella Sinclair, who married David Bruce in
Hastigrow, a descendant no doubt of the Bruces
who owned the lands of Hastigrow and others in
that locality in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. They had two sons, William and
David, who both died in America, and five
THE HANSONS. 315
daughters, of whom Jean and Katharine died The Hansons,
unmarried; Janet Bruce married Neil Suther-
land, and had a son, William, who married Miss
M'Kay, daughter of the Eeverend Mr. M'Kay,
minister of Reay ; Elizabeth Bruce married
George Gunn, and had issue ; and Isabella Bruce
married Patrick Andrew, and had a daughter,
Isabella, who died unmarried, and a son, William
Patrick, now Chairman of the Scinde and Punjab
Railway, who is married to a grand-daughter of
the eminent painter, Sir Henry Raeburn, and has
2. Elizabeth Sinclair, who married John Manson, and
had a son, William, and four daughters. William
Manson married Isabella, daughter of Donald
Williamson of Banniskirk. He had issue, and
died in 1846. Jean and Isabella died unmarried.
Elizabeth, who died in 1805, married Donald Robe-
son, writer in Thurso, and had four sons John,
William, Alexander, and Donald, and a daughter,
Margaret. John Robeson married in India Miss
Dunbar, daughter of Captain Dunbar of West-
field, and left a daughter. The other sons
died unmarried. Margaret Robeson, the only
daughter, married her cousin, Lieutenant- Colonel
Robert Sinclair Sutherland of Brabster, and died
in 1869 without surviving issue. Anne Manson,
fourth daughter of Elizabeth Sinclair, married
316 THE HANSONS.
The Hansons. Morrison Snody, writer in Thurso, and died
without issue in 1846.
3. Jean Sinclair, who married Patrick Brodie in
Ulbster, and had issue. Vide Brodies.
4. Janet Sinclair, who married George Gibson (vide
Gibsons), and had two daughters Margaret,
who married George Sinclair Sutherland of
Brabster ; and Barbara, who married Major
James Williamson, and had a son and two
Mr. Alexander Brodie and his sister, Margaret, the
only surviving children of Jean Sinclair, stood in the
same degree of relationship to Margaret Manson of
London as did General Manson, and the three were
preferred, as next-of-kin, to Miss Manson's intestate
succession, but the bulk of her estate was settled by
THE NICOLSONS OF SHEBSTER
THE Reverend ALEXANDER NICOLSON, son of Patrick
Nicolson, minister of Kiltarlity, was minister of Thurso ofshebster -
from 1752 to 1785, when he died, aged 61. He acquired
Shebster, which for several generations had belonged to
the Munros, by purchase. He was twice married first
in 1754, and secondly in 1765. By his first wife he had
two sons :
1. Patrick, his successor.
2. Dr. James Nicolson.
His second wife was Mary, daughter of Patrick
Honyman of Grsemsay, who died in 1817, aged 89. By
her he had a daughter, Jessie, who was twice married-
first, to Alexander M'Leod of Lynegar, son of Donald
M'Leod, sometime writer, thereafter Sheriff- Substitute of
Caithness (son of M'Leod, musician in Thurso).
They had a son, David, who died young, and two
daughters Mary, who died young, and Jemima, who
married Mr. Hepburn of St. Vincent, who died in 1868,
Jessie Nicolson was married, secondly, to William
Sinclair, writer in Thurso, by whom she had two sons
318 THE NICOLSONS OF SHEBSTEB.
Alexander, accountant in Edinburgh, who died without
issue, and Gordon, who died in the West Indies, also
PATRICK NICOLSON OF SHEBSTER was minister of
Thurso from his father's death in 1785 down to 1805.
He married, in 1787, Mary Maxwell, daughter of Captain
Thomas D unbar of Westfield and his first wife, Janet,
daughter of Sir William Dunbar of Hempriggs. She
died in 1806, and by her he had two sons and four
1. Alexander, who sold Shebster in 1808, with consent
of his curators, and died without issue.
2. Major Malcolm, who married his cousin, Jessie,
daughter of James Moodie of Melsetter, by whom
he had a son. By a second marriage he had
1. Janet Dunbar, who married Dr. Featherstone, and
2. Mary, who married Major Jackson.
3. Isabella, who married Dr. Simon Nicolson, and had
4. Margaret, who married Lieutenant- Colonel Western,
and had issue.
A DETAILED notice of the Clan Gunn is beyond the
scope of these notes : for such we must refer to Gordon
and other* authorities ; nor shall the debatable question
be entered upon, whether their ancestor was Gunnius,
brother of Sweyn, the Freswick pirate, or Guin, son of
Olave, king of Man. By the most credible accounts,
they are of Norwegian origin, and it is at least certain
that they settled in Caithness at a remote date, and in
course of time so increased in numbers as to have
attained to the position of " The Clan Gunn." The Gunns
seem to have occupied chiefly the highland portions of
the county, although their burial-place was at Spittal.
Their connection with Caithness as a distinct clan ended
about 1619. It is singular that, until the middle of the
seventeenth century, we find no written evidence of their
tenure of land. Probably, as in the case of Donald Gunn
of Braemore, noticed in " Ministers and Men in the Far
North/' what possessions they had were " gained by the
sword," and retained by the same title during their
period of prosperity.
George Gunn was chief of the clan in the fifteenth
320 THE GUNNS.
The Gunns. century, and lived at the castle of Harberry, in Clyth.
This chieftain was popularly styled the "Cruner Gunn,"
from his holding the office of " Cruner" or " Crouner " of
the district, an ancient office which empowered the
holder to attach the persons of offenders against the
Crown. By his clansmen and highlanders generally he
was known as the " Nin Braistack-more," from the great
silver brooch worn by him as a badge of office.
He is reputed to have had seven sons, of whom four,
along with himself, fell in 1464, in a combat with the
Keiths, their hereditary foes. Of these sons, James
succeeded to the chieftainship ; Robert, the second son,
is ancestor of the Gunns of Braemore and other respect-
able families ; from John, the third son, are descended
the Gunns of Dalmore and Dale, and others ; Henry, the
fourth son, is the traditional ancestor of the Caithness
Hendersons ; and William, the fifth son, of the William-
sons and Wilsons. James has been supposed to be the
fifth son; but it appears certain that on his father's
death in 1464 he took up the chieftainship, and that he,
along with his brothers, William and Henry, retired into
Sutherlandshire ; and at Killearnan, in Kildonan, the
succeeding chiefs had their residence until the accidental
destruction of the mansion-house by fire in 1690.
That there was a " Crouner" in the county at a
remote period, whether of the Clan Gunn or not, is shown
by part of the names still attached to certain localities,
for instance, the " Crouner's Garden," near Strath, and
THE GUNNS. 321
the like ; while in an ancient document, entitled
" Inventar of the Gudes of Alexander Southeiiand, 1456 "
(father-in-law of William St. Clair, first Earl of Caith-
ness), there are entries proving the "Crouner" to have
had a son Henry, and a son Alexander, thus: "Item,
Alexander the Crouner's son an (owing) me for the teind
of Dael, Thurno, and the begyn, with uther geeds that he
tuk of myn that comes to 24 of Marks and mair ; " and
" Item, Henry the Crounars son an me for tends and ky
(teinds and cattle) that he tuk of myn 40 merks and
mar, as vitail (victual) was sold in the countrie that
In 1664 John Gunn appears to have been in posses-
sion of Braemore, under the peaceful title of a written
lease from the Earl of Caithness, at a rent of 490 Scots.
It is said that a section of the clan claimed the chieftain-
ship for this John, but that, on a formal discussion of the
question at a meeting in Thurso, the honour was adjudged
to a rival candidate.
John Gunn in Braemore obtained in 1664 a wadset
over that estate, for 1000 merks, from John, Earl of
Breadalbane. He appears to have lived down to at least
1698, for in that year his son and successor, George, is
designed in a tack of Dirlot as " Younger of Braemore."
In 1715 George Gunn got another tack of Braemore
from Lord Glenorchy, reserving the " salmond fishings
with the deer and Kae;" and in the same year he
obtained a wadset for 3000 merks.
322 THE GUNNS.
In 1732 George Gunn got a wadset for 17,000 merks
from Sir James Sinclair of Dunbeath. Sir James acquired
Braemore in 1729 as part of the Caithness estate pur-
chased by him and Ulbster from Lord Glenorchy.
The representatives of this branch of the Gunns
appear to be the Gunn-Munroes of Poyntzfield. The first
Sir George Gunn Munro of Poyntzfield was a son of the
Eeverend John Munro, minister of Halkirk, by his
wife, Janet Munro, only child of George Gunn of Brae-
The genealogy of the Gunns of Braemore is stated by
the Rev. Mr. Gunn of Watten, who has given much
attention to the subject, to be as follows :
1. Robert, second son of George Gunn, "the Crounar"
(killed in 1464).
2. Donald, his eldest son.
3. David, his eldest son.
4. Alexander, his eldest son, who married Christian,
daughter of Donald, first Lord Reay.
5. John, his eldest son.
6. George, his eldest son.
7. Janet, his only child, married John Munro,
minister of Halkirk, who died in 1743 or 1746.
His third son was the first Munro of Poyntzfield.
8. Captain John Gunn Munro, eldest son of Janet
Munro, married Elizabeth Sutherland of Torboll,
and had three sons and four daughters. In 1752
he acquired Braemore in fee-simple.
THE GUNNS. 323
9. William Gunn Munro, eldest son, had no family, The Gunns.
and was succeeded by his brother.
10. George Gunn Munro succeeded his brother in
Braemore, and also inherited Poyntzfield under
an entail executed by his uncle, Sir George, in
1784. In 1793 Sir Eobert Anstruther pur-
chased Braemore for about 4000 at a judicial
sale, and obtained a decreet of sale in his favour.
THE DOULLS OF THUSTER
The Douiis of JOHN DOULL OF THUSTER, Wick, got a wadset of these
lands in 1650, and in a tack of the teinds of Forse granted
to him by the Bishop in 1685, he is designed " Servitor to
the Earl of Caithness." He married Grizzel, daughter
of John Sinclair, first of Assery, and had a son, John.
John Doullwas, in 1678, "Servitor" to Sir Eobert
Sinclair of Longformacus, advocate, and as such he was
probably merely an "advocate's clerk." He practised as
a writer for many years in Edinburgh, and had a con-
siderable business connection with the county. He had
one son at least, and two daughters :
1. Patrick Doull of Winterfield.
1. Mary, who was the third wife of George, third
Lord Reay, and who is mentioned in " Burke " as
daughter of John Dowell, Esq. They had two
sons and four daughters.
2. Margaret, who married Major William Sinclair
In 1696 there was a William Doull, a writer in Edin-
burgh, who, it is supposed, was a son of John Doull. In
1677 John had granted a disposition of subjects in Wick
THE DOULLS OF THUSTER. 325
to Robert Calder and his son, John, by his wife, Anne The Douiis of
Doull; and in 1696 WiUiam Doull granted another dis- Thuster>
position of the same property.
There were other Doulls in Wick connected, it
is thought, with the Doulls of Thuster, of whom several
intermarried with the Calders in Wick.
Patrick Doull of Oldfield, near Thurso, and his
brother, Benjamin, Commissary Clerk of Caithness, were
also connected with Wick. Benjamin died unmarried
before 1780. Patrick was a merchant in Thurso, and
married Mary, daughter of Robert Sinclair of Geise. His
last surviving son, Alexander, an officer in the navy or
marines, perished in India in 1781, by the blowing up of
Patrick and Benjamin Doull had at least two sisters,
Mrs. Elizabeth Doull, and Janet, who married James
Calder, merchant in Wick, whose son, Benjamin, in
Mountpleasant, Thurso, and of the Customs, was father
of the late General Patrick Doull Calder of the Royal
Grizzel Doull, a niece of Patrick Doull of Oldfield,
married David Andrew, and had a son, Patrick, whose
only son, Sir William Patrick Andrew, is Chairman of
the Scinde and Punjab Railway.
THE GOEDONS OF SWINEY.
The Gordons of CHARLES GORDON, ancestor of this family, " having
acquired considerable means by a long course of industry/'
purchased the estate of Pulrossie, in Sutherlandshire.
This property he sold to Mr. Dempster of Skibo, and in
1789 he purchased the estate of Swinzie or Swiney from
Captain Patrick Sinclair of Durran, as administrator for
his son, Patrick Sinclair Sutherland of Swinzie, for 5500.
The conveyance was taken to his eldest son, Lieutenant
John Gordon, who was thus the first Gordon of Swiney.
John Gordon had five sons and two daughters :
1. Lieutenant John Gordon, who had a son, John.
2. Dr. M'Kay Gordon, who settled in South America.
' 1. Mrs. Young.
2. Mrs. Gunn, Bisgill.
Under an entail executed by Mr. Gordon, he was
succeeded by his natural son, Major- General James
Gordon of Munsary, who died unmarried in 1867. Upon
his death the succession opened up to John Gordon's
THE GORDONS OF SWINEY. 327
great-grandson, descended from his eldest son, Lieutenant The Gordons of
John M'Kay Gordon of Swiney, grandson of Lieu-
tenant John Gordon by his only son, John, died soon after
his succession unmarried, and was succeeded by his
brother, George Montagu.
George Montagu Gordon of Swiney sold the estate
in 1877 to the Duke of Portland.
THE KENNEDYS OF STEOMA. 1
IN 1659 John Kennedy, designed as sometime
elder of Kermucks, got from the Earl of Caithness a
1 In the MS. diary of Bishop Robert
Forbes, who visited Caithness in 1762,
there is the following statement regard-
ing Stroma and the Kennedys :
"This island is famous for having
dead bodies of men, women, and chil-
dren, above ground, entire, and to be
seen for 70 or 80 years, free of all cor-
ruption, without embalming or any art
whatsoever, but owing, it is thought, to
the plenty of nitre that is there. The
bodies become very brownish with
length of time, but so that the visage
is discernible by any friend or acquaint-
ance that ever had seen the person
alive. I looked over the ferry of two
miles (from John o' Groat's) often to
the burial-place close upon the shore of
Stroma, which is a small house like a
dovecote, the roof being now off and
the door broken to pieces, for being
informed that the bodies were now
under ground I did not cross the ferry
to view it. This little repository for
the dead was built by one Dr. Kennedy
of Cairnmuck, as they term it in Caith-
ness, but I take it to be Kenmuck, as
there is such a place in Aberdeeushire,
from which country it is said he fled
to Stroma for homicide, having killed
one Forbes of the family of Foveran.
Upon this island the doctor made out a
small habitation for himself by build-
ing a snug house of two stories and well
slated, and he ordered his body to be
deposited in the little house which he
had erected for that purpose, standing
by itself. His body was to be seen
here for many years, and would have
been so still had it not been for his son,
Murdoch Kennedy, who played such
wretched tricks on the body of his
father, for the diversion of strangers,
as in time broke it to pieces. He used
to place strangers at his father's feet,
and by setting a foot on one of his
father's, made the body spring up
speedily and salute them, which sur-
prised them greatly. Then after laying
the body down again, he beat a march
upon the belly which sounded equally
loud with a drum. William Suther-
land of Wester particularly informed
me that about forty years ago (about
1700), he was in Murdoch's house, the
same built by his father, and with him
THE KENNEDYS OF STROMA. 329
wadset of his lands in Stroma, including the Nethertown The Kennedys
of Stroma, and the family of the Kennedys remained i n ofstroma -
possession until 1721.
John Kennedy appears to have been a grandson of
Lady Buchollie, and to have married Janet, eldest
daughter of William Forbes of Craigievar. The wadset
of Stroma was taken to him and his wife. He had
In 1672 Margaret and Jean Kennedy, two of his
daughters, disponed portions of the wadset to "John
Kennedy, elder of Stroma;" and in 1685 John Kennedy,
"younger of Kermucks," disponed the Nethertown of
Stroma to John, " elder of Stroma," and his wife, Jean
M'Kenzie, sister of Sir Alexander M'Kenzie of Broomhill.
The connection between the three John Kennedys,
namely, John, "sometime elder of Kermucks," John,
"elder of Stroma," and John, "younger of Kermucks,"
does not appear, but John Kennedy, elder of Stroma,
seems to have acquired the whole wadset lands, and to
have conveyed them in 1687 and 1688 to his brother-in-
law, Sir Alexander M'Kenzie. In 1713 Sir Alexander
disponed the Nethertown of Stroma to his nephew, Mur-
doch Kennedy, son of John, and about 1721 the lands
were acquired by William Sinclair of Freswick.
went to the burying-place, where he wit- dried haddocks, as he termed it.
nessed him thus beating a march, and Wester's son (John Sutherland), a mar-
saw several other bodies entire, particu- ried man, told me that only about twelve
larly some bodies of children, hanging years ago (1750) be was in Stroma and
by nails and pins upon the walls like saw then Dr. Kennedy's body entire."
THE SINCLAIES OF KIEK AND
Thesinciairsof I* 1592 Henry Sinclair in Canisbay got, a charter
Kirk and Myre- rom ^6 Earl of Caithness of part of Kirk and Myre-
landhorn. . . _
landhorn. In 1582 there is mention in the Earl of
Caithness' testament of Henry Sinclair, his servitor, WHO
may have been the Henry Sinclair of 1592. Henry
Sinclair of Kirk had two sons :
2. David in Olrig.
James Sinclair got a charter from his father in 1627,
and was succeeded by his brother, David.
David Sinclair, only lawful brother, got a precept of
dare constat in 1667, and was succeeded by his son,
John Sinclair got a disposition from his father in
1669, and a charter of novo-damus from the Bishop in
1680. John Sinclair was " servitor to Sir William Sharp,
Keeper of the Signet," and he seems afterwards to have
been a merchant in Edinburgh.
In 1643 William Sinclair, elder, merchant in Thurso,
got a wadset from James Sinclair, and had a son, Thomas,
THE SINCLAIRS OF KIRK AND MYRELANDHORN. 331
who again had a son, William. They adjudged Kirk and The sinciain oi
Myreland, and in 1680 William Sinclair disponed these landhoru. yr
lands to John Sinclair, who sold them to John Sinclair
of Barrock. Nisbet mentions the arms of " Thomas
Sinclair, lawful son to William Sinclair, merchant in
Thurso, of the family of Caithness." These may have
been the same Sinclairs who apprised Kirk and Myreland,
and who may have been connected with the Sinclairs
descended from Henry Sinclair in Canisbay, who got the
lands from the Earl of Caithness.
THE SUTHEKLANDS OF WESTER.
TheSuther- J N 1633 John, Master of Berriedale, granted to Mr
lands of Wester.
John Stewart, minister of W ick, a wadset of the lands of
Wester or Westerloch and North Kilimster. This
wadset was acquired by
1. William Sutherland (of the family of Sutherland
of Forse and of Lang well), who was the eldest son of
David Sutherland in Ausdale (third son of William
Sutherland or M'Ean, first of Lang well), and Catharine
Poison, his first wife, as appears from a bond of provision
in his favour by his father, dated in 1697. 1
2. John Sutherland of Wester succeeded his father,
William, and married Anne, daughter of Alexander
Innes (the younger brother of Harry Innes of Sandside),
and died about the end of last century, leaving a son,
Alexander, and five daughters.
1 From the MS. diary of Bishop tably entertained by the " honest old
Robert Forbes it appears that on his Trojan and his wife, sister to the Rev.
visit to Caithness in 1762 he saw John MacLachlan's first wife, Betty
William Sutherland of Wester, of whom Sutherland." At this period Wester's
he speaks highly, describing him as a son and successor, John, was married
man of reading, who had been bred to and had children, two of whom were
the sea and seen much of the world, confirmed by the Bishop.
He states himself to have been hospi-
THE SUTHERLANDS OF WESTER. 333
3. Alexander Sutherland of Wester was in early life The suther-
an officer in the army, and his father having left his
affairs in an involved condition, he was reduced to a
state of poverty, and died about 1821. The reversion
or right to redeem the wadset had been acquired by
the Hempriggs family, on the sale of the Caithness
estates, and after much litigation with Sir Benjamin
Dunbar, Alexander Sutherland gave up possession of
North Kilimster, and took a lease of Wester at a rent
equal to "the interest of the wadset sum, payment of
which was postponed for many years. It was ultimately
paid to the Sandside family, who had come to be in right
MAJOK-GENEEAL ST. GLAIR.
Major-General IN November 1870 the late Dr. Mill, then senior
magistrate of Thurso, received a letter from the Secretary
of the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland,
Ohio, asking information regarding the early life and
parentage of Arthur St. Clair, described as a distinguished
American officer, who died in 1818, and for whose bio-
graphy the Society was collecting materials. The Secre-
tary stated that the General was born at Thurso in 1734,
that he went to America in 1754 or 1755 with Admiral
Boscawen, that he joined the army in one or other of
these years, that he was the second son of his father,
and had received a good education, and was believed to
have studied medicine, but had abandoned it. He was
further said to have corresponded with relatives, includ-
ing the late Sir John Sinclair, of Ulbster, in Thurso and
From a copy of the New York Daily Tribune, of 28th
April last, we observe that under the title of " The St.
Clair Papers," a memorial of the General, in two volumes,
has been published containing lengthened notices of his
services, and of the stirring events in which he was
MAJOR-GENERAL ST. CLAIR. 335
engaged in America from 1755 to 1763; in the American
Revolution, and in the Indian wars of the South-west.
In regard to the General's birthplace and early history,
the Tribune states that he was " born of a noble family
in the town of Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, in the year
1734. He studied at the University of Edinburgh as a
preparation for professional life, and was indentured to
the famous physician, William Hunter of London. But
he had inherited the martial temper of his race, and at
twenty-tliree he abandoned medicine for an ensign's
commission in the Royal Regiment of Foot."
On receipt of the communication to Dr. Mill in 1870,
referred to, an endeavour was made to trace the General's
family in .Caithness. In searching the Kirk Session
books of Thurso, the register of baptisms does not
record any Arthur Sinclair in 1734 ; but on 24th March
1736 there is the following entry: " William Sinclair,
merchant in town, had his son Arthur (who was born
about five o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day)
baptized by the Rev. Mr. William Innes, minister here."
At this period there was in Thurso William Sinclair,
merchant, a grandson of James Sinclair, second laird
of Assery, whose father, John, first of Assery, was a
son of Sir James Sinclair of Murkle, of the Caithness
family. Possibly, then, General St. Clair may have been
the son of William Sinclair, merchant in Thurso. Admiral
Boscawen sailed for America in 1758, and if the General
accompanied him, as he is said to have done, and was
336 MAJOR-GENERAL ST. CLAIR.
born in 1736, he would be then about twenty -two years
of age, and the Tribune states his age to have been
twenty- three when he got his commission.
If General St. Clair was, as is supposed above, of the
family of Sinclairs of Assery, there would be relationship
with Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, although very distant,
by the marriage of George Sinclair of Assery, the General's
grand-uncle, to a lady of the Ulbster family.
The following extracts are from the article in the
Tribune above referred to :
" He was with Amherst at Louisburg, where he won by his
gallantry promotion to the rank of lieutenant, and under Wolfe
the following year he carried the British colours on the Plains of
Abraham. After the siege of Quebec he married a daughter of
the Bayards of Boston, who brought him a dowry of 14,000
inherited from her maternal grandfather, James Bowdoin. In
1764 he removed with his young wife to a fine landed estate in
the picturesque Ligonier Valley of Western Pennsylvania, where
several Scotch families of consequence had already settled. Here
he filled a number of prominent civil positions, and took an active
part in the boundary disputes between Pennsylvania and Virginia.
A man like St. Clair, with a military reputation and distinguished
in civil life, could not long remain in obscurity as the spirit of
resistance against the mother country gathered head in the
colonies, and in December 1775 he resigned his civil offices, took
leave of his wife and children, and as the event proved, of his
fortune, and repaired to Philadelphia on a summons from President
Hancock. In January he raised a regiment, and in May he
reached Quebec at a critical time, and covered the retreat of the
MA JOB- GENERAL ST. CLAIR. 337
imperilled army. Through the disastrous days which followed Major-General
Colonel St. Clair rendered efficient service until the wearied, Sti Clair *
weakened, plague-smitten and demoralised forces were brought
into camp on the banks of Lake Champlain. On the 9th of
August 1776 St. Clair was made a Brigadier- General by Congress,
and later in the year was ordered to leave the Northern Depart-
ment and join Washington in the Jerseys. During the trials and
hardships of the dark winter which followed, when the genius of
Washington shone out so brightly at last, St. Clair was one of the
faithful and trusted advisers of the Commander-in-chief, and took
a conspicuous part in the operations which were crowned with
triumph at Trenton and Princeton. It was in recognition of his
distinguished services in this campaign that he was commissioned a
Major-General in February, and assigned once more to command in
the North. On the 1 2th of June he took command of Ticonderoga,
and was subjected to much cruel censure for abandoning that post
twenty-four days later, when his works were commanded by the
guns of the enemy nearly 8000 strong, against less than half that
number of his own ill equipped and worse armed troops. The
skilful retreat from Ticonderoga was followed as a natural sequence
by the decisive victory at Saratoga, and St. Clair, although sus-
pended for a time from command, became a member of Washing-
ton's military family. He participated in the battle of Brandy wine,
shared the sufferings at Valley Forge, was a member of the court-
martial which tried Andre*, and the closing days of the war found
him marching to the support of Greene in South Carolina. Equally
efficient in civil and military life, he was elected President of
Congress and Governor of the North-western Territory, a post
which he held for fourteen years, and under his administrative
control the broad foundations of coming States were securely laid
and established in the freedom and education guaranteed by the
338 MAJOR-GENERAL ST. CLAIR.
great charter. He was removed in 1802 by President Madison,
and returned to Pennsylvania in his old age, to find his fortunes
wasted, while the Government which he had served pleaded the
statute of limitations to escape reimbursing him for money
advanced to prevent Washington's army from melting away. He
had become responsible while administering Indian affairs for
certain supplies, and this amount was also refused, at first on the
ground of an informality in his accounts, and when this was
rectified, the statute was pleaded once more. His property, a
valuable one for those times, was finally forced to a sale, and the
old soldier and his family were reduced to want. In a log house
on a bleak ridge by the side of the old State road from Bedford to
Pittsburg, and almost in sight of the broad acres which once were
his, Lewis Cass found him at the age of fourscore supporting his
family by selling ' supplies ' to the wagoners who travelled that
highway. One day in August 1818, when eighty-four years old,
he was discovered lying insensible by the side of a rough and
lonely road, where he had fallen from his wagon while on the way
to a neighbouring town to procure some flour and other necessaries.
He never rallied from the shock, and died on the last day of
LIST OF HERITORS AND WADSETTERS.
THE following List of Heritors and Wadsetters in the List of Heritc
county of Caithness in the seventeenth century is taken aE
chiefly from a Decreet obtained in 1675, by Sinclair of
Mey, against the Heritors and Inhabitants of the
William Budge of Toftingall.
William Budge of Easterdale.
William Bruce of Stanstill.
John Bruce of Ham.
David Bruce of Lyth.
John Bruce of Hastigrow.
William Bruce of Seater.
David Coghill of that Ilk.
James Cunningham of Brownhill.
Donald Campbell of Lybster.
Patrick Buey Campbell of Quoycrook.
Alexander Campbell of Comliefoot.
Laurence and Charles Calder of Lynegar.
Laurence and William Calder of Galshfield.
Alexander Calder of Newton.
Alexander Calder in Strath.
Marcus Calder in Strath.
Alexander Calder of Holland.
Andrew Calder, Portioner of Banniskirk.
340 LIST OF HERITORS AND WADSETTERS.
List of Heritors Donald Calder of Achahoy.
William D unbar of Hempriggs.
John Davidson of Achingills.
John Doull of Thuster.
Donald Groat of W arse.
Malcolm Groat, Portioner of Duncansbay.
Finlay Groat, Portioner of Duncansbay.
George Gunn of Braemore.
William Henderson of Nottingham.
David Henderson of Gersay.
John Henderson, Portioner of Brabsterdorrau.
Donald Henderson of Achalibster.
George Innes of Oust.
Walter Innes of Skaill.
William Innes of Isauld.
Kobert Innes of Shebster.
James Innes of Sandside.
James Innes of Thursater.
James Innes of Borrowstown.
John Kennedy of Stroma.
James Murray of Pennyland.
David Murray of Clairden.
Richard Murray of Scotscalder.
Robert Munro of Borlum.
Magnus Mowat of Buchollie.
Alexander Mowat of Swinzie.
Donald Manson, Portioner of Dunnet.
George Mearns of Occumster.
George Sutherland of Forse.
William Sutherland of Langwell.
LIST OF HERITORS AND WADSETTERS. 341
Sir William Sinclair of Mey. List of Heritors
Alexander Sinclair of Stemster. andWadsetten.
David Sinclair of Southdun.
William Sinclair of Dunn.
James Sinclair of Lybster.
John Sinclair of Brims.
James Sinclair of Stangergill.
Eobert Sinclair of Duren.
George Sinclair of Olrig.
George Sinclair of Barrock.
James Sinclair of Freswick.
James Sinclair of Assery.
William Sinclair of Forsie.
William Sinclair of Thura.
Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke.
William Sinclair of Dunbeath.
Alexander Sinclair of Telstane.
William Sinclair of Gillock.
James Sinclair of Ausdale.
John Sinclair of Brabster.
George Sinclair of Forss.
John Sinclair of Ulbster.
Sir George Sinclair of Clyth.
John Sinclair of Rattar.
William Sinclair of Hoy.
John Sinclair of Murkle.
John Sinclair of Hollandmake.
Alexander Sinclair of Dalganachan.
William Younger of Dwarick.
Andrew Williamson of Achorlie.
Donald Williamson of Banniskirk.
T. AND A. CONSTABLE, PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY.
Caithness family history
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